The new Rand Racing team scored its second victory in as many starts during the Rolex 24 at Daytona, held on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course. The team won in its first outing last fall, also at Daytona, then followed with...
The new Rand Racing team scored its second victory in as many starts during the Rolex 24 at Daytona, held on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course. The team won in its first outing last fall, also at Daytona, then followed with victory in the SRPII class in the 24-hour classic. The team was the only class winner to lead from start to finish, and topped its strong class performance with third place overall in the race.
Ralf Kelleners took the wheel of the No. 8 Risi Competizione-prepared Nissan Lola after 18 hours, carrying the class lead and fourth overall. Bill Rand followed at 20h15 and moved up to third during his two-hour stint, then Terry Borcheller and Kelleners followed with single stints. Rand returned to the car for the finish.
"I have to thank the crew," said owner/driver Rand. "Without Risi Competizione putting the car together, we couldn't have finished. They're very important and they never get enough credit. We have the flag for each individual's nationality on the car as a special tribute to them. And without my three co-drivers, we couldn't have got it done. We worked as a team and we're two for two - we don't plan on going for second."
Anthony Lazzaro, who drove most of the night stints, was overwhelmed. ''It's an awesome feeling," he said. "Last time I drove in the race was '99 and we won, so the last two times I've driven here, we've won. To come here and win a 24-hour race is a huge accomplishment. I can't thank Bill and his family enough for what they've done for my career. With the whole Rand Racing team, it's just an awesome deal all around."
Borcheller noted the absence of track trouble ensured the victory. "I'm happy that we didn't have any altercations," he said. "Nobody went off track, mechanically the car ran great and the weather was good, just a lot of positives for us. And we came away with a win. That's how you win a 24-hour race, by staying out of trouble."
Kelleners agreed. "Obviously, we came here to win our class. It was a tremendous job from the team," he said. "It's all down to the drivers not hitting anything and the team preparing the car in the right way. It seems like everybody did a perfect job."