Rolex 24 5-Hour Report: Pontiac Strong In Both Classes SunTrust Racing's ...
Rolex 24 5-Hour Report: Pontiac Strong In Both Classes
SunTrust Racing's #10 Pontiac Riley Moves From 27th to Third Then Suffers Crash to End 24-hour Effort; Two GT Class GTO.Rs Third and Fourth
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Pontiac race cars performed well in the first four hours of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series' Premier race, the Rolex 24 At Daytona, but a stroke of bad luck has taken last year's Rolex 24 winners and Series champions, SunTrust Racing, out of the world famous endurance race.
Just past 4:15 p.m., the #10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley, with Emmanuel Collard behind the wheel, struck a spinning #24 BMW M3 that damaged the front and rear right suspension of his Pontiac Riley. Collard appeared unhurt after the crash but the car had to be taken to the garages to be evaluated. This incident came after Max Angelelli, Wayne Taylor and Collard managed to bring their car up as high as second place after starting from the 27th spot on the grid (their car qualified second but was moved to the back of the grid after their front splitter was found to be too wide).
"We had great team strategy and a really good run to make it to the head of the pack," said Angelelli. "Unfortunately now it is over for us."
For a team that experienced a fire during qualifying last year at Mid-Ohio, repaired the car overnight and then went on to take third place in the race the following day, the SunTrust team is not one to give up, but today the damage was too great.
"The suspension and frame damage would probably take four to six hours to fix but unfortunately we can't do it here," said Bill Riley, SunTrust team director and owner of chassis builder Riley Technologies. "If we fix it here, we have the chance of overlooking some other potential problem caused by the crash which could lead to another crash. It's by far the worst damaged Daytona Prototype I've seen."
Pontiac's other DPs performed well in the first few hours of the race. The #2 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford of Jan Lammers, Rusty Wallace, Danica Patrick and Alan McNish found themselves in the top ten along with teammates Tony Stewart, Andy Wallace and Butch Leitzinger of the #4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford.
Pontiac's GT effort is also progressing well with the #64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R in third place and the #65 TRG Pontiac GTO.R in fourth. Paul Edwards drove the #64 car the first hour of the race and while managing to hold their position, Edwards and his teammates found the track crowded and difficult to pass on.
"I didn't have any special moments out there; it was really crazy out there with all the traffic. All the DP cars were in bundles but now the field is starting to spread out and there's actually people out there running on their own for a few laps. The longer it goes the less chaotic it will be. A couple of pit stops worked out well for us and we're happy with where we are now."
The Rolex 24 At Daytona is run on the 3.56 mile tri-oval/infield road course of the Daytona International Speedway. This year's event will end at noon on January 29th. A Pontiac-sponsored look at the race will be broadcast on SPEED TV at 8:00 p.m. EDT and the remainder of the race will air (also on SPEED) on January 29th at 8:00 a.m. EDT.