Daytona Beach, FL --:A 90-minute yellow flag is underway as fog has blanketed the Daytona International Speedway, so all the teams are scrambling to take care of some medium-length repairs as well as set up their strategy for the finish.
During the night, the Magnus Racing Porsche, through stints from Richard Lietz and Nicolas Armindo, maintained a narrow lead for most of the time, with different Audis and Ferraris grabbing the top spot during yellow flags and pit stop shuffles.
At hour 13, Rubens Barrichello, former F1 star from Brazil, coasted to a stop after losing the engine in the No. 21 Dener Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. That resulted in the car’s retirement after the team struggled with engine problems throughout the event.
SEAN EDWARDS, driver No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup: “I had a great stint! The car was amazing. I came out in third place and managed to jump one car from the pit, and then I got the 44 Magnus car on the restart so I already managed to pull a gap from the Ferrari in P2. It was quite a straightforward stint. I could just put my head down. The car was fantastic all the way through the stint. Sometimes it was a bit like driving a race on your own out there because there we’re many cars. It was quite nice and good fun. It was a great stint and we look in good shape. There’s still 14 hours to go, so we’re not even to the end of the race yet. We’re a strong team though and hopefully we can keep it in shape for the last four hours and then we can really attack the race.”
COOPER MacNEIL (No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) "It had a little understeer. I adjusted it out with a bar change. I had minimal practice this week, but I got right in and put in some good laps. It is nice and cool here at night. The guys are doing good pit stops and so far we have no real problems. Everyone is driving like it is the last lap. That is how competitive GRAND-AM racing is, especially at Daytona."
DAMIEN FAULKNER (No. 23 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT3 Cup): “I was able to get a good draft and I went by our sister Audi and took the lead. I was trying to be as clean and as fast I could. I was focused on consistency and not taking any risks. Things will happen here and there, I was really happy with my stint. David (MacNeil, founder and CEO of WeatherTech) is happy to see both of his cars upfront. Cooper (David’s son) is in our car, so I think he is cheering a little harder for us at the moment."
RUBENS BARRICHELLO (No. 21 Dener Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – before the car was retired): “I’d like to say how great it is to be here. When they said in Brazil they were going to put a Brazilian team together, I thought it would be a great idea. It’s something that never happened before. All the mechanics and everyone are Brazilians. We knew we were going to struggle, especially on the experience side, because nobody knows what’s happening around. The pit stops are a little too slow. The first stint was [Ricardo] Mauricio. He drove the car really well, but we could see there was a drop in performance there at the end. When I jumped in, I said I had a motor problem. It’s not misfiring, it’s just lacking power. I could see the top Porsche guys were going so much faster, like one second on every straight. The technicians just looked at our car and we have a throttle problem. Tony [Kanaan], TK, just jumped in the car. I did the whole two stints on 50 percent of the throttle, so I was happy with the times I was achieving with 50 percent of the throttle.”
PATRICK PILET (No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup): “The car was very easy to drive, really consistent during all three of my stints. I had no issues. I was really careful with the brakes. I braked really early to compare to the others but I just tried to save the brakes for the end of the race. I was also easy with the gearbox. We had one small issue with the tire change and we lost some time on the second pit stop, but afterwards it was fine. I had no water for the last hour in the car because it was empty. At least it is not too warm. But the car was fine and I had no problems. I’m really confident for the rest of the race.”
JEROEN BLEEKEMOLEN (No. 23 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT3 Cup): “Halfway through my run, something was waving to me through the back window. It was a corner of the rear bumper that had come loose. Luckily, the guys could just tear it off. No harm done. I never felt someone touch me, but I must have got tapped early in the race. Also at the start the shift lights stopped working. That affected me a little on the banking, because you want to shift at exactly the right moment. At the beginning, a lot guys were really aggressive when they didn’t need to be. During my third stint I was able to close the gap to the front cars. I was running with my friend Sean Edwards in the 30 car and we drafted around making up good time on those in front of us.”
HURLEY HAYWOOD (Grand Marshal of the 51st Rolex 24 At Daytona): “I’ve enjoyed my duties as Grand Marshal. They’ve almost kept me distracted enough – but I still miss the driving. I drove one of my cars Saturday morning with the historic group to get my racing fix.”
ANDY LALLY (No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911GT3 Cup): “Running strong and leading the race in the first hour is a good shot in the arm for everybody. It lets us calm down, get poised and get ready for a real long night and then get ready for a real long day. We have to stay smart. If you get caught up in the fun here, you’re going to pay the price. You’ve got to keep focused. The biggest thing is keeping the variables to a minimum, and not letting anybody put you in a position to get hurt. That’s what we try to do while we’re staying out front. Obviously, that’s no easy game."