Three TRG Porsches Inside Top 10 After Six Hours in Rolex 24 At Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., January 26, 2008 -- Three of seven TRG Porsche GT3s maintained top-10 positions--headed by the No. 66 Marquis Jet/Resorts International/Mitchell ...
Three TRG Porsches Inside Top 10 After Six Hours in Rolex 24 At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., January 26, 2008 -- Three of seven TRG Porsche GT3s maintained top-10 positions--headed by the No. 66 Marquis Jet/Resorts International/Mitchell Rubber/Total Lubricants/IPC Porsche GT3 of co-drivers Bryce Miller, Ted Ballou, Andy Lally and Richard Westbrook, which was running in fifth place--at the one-quarter mark in the 46th Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Miller started the car from 11th on the GT class grid and drove the race's opening stint before giving way to Ballou for one stint. Lally then took over and drove the car into the lead before turning it over to Westbrook shortly after the five-hour mark. Rainy--but not completely wet--conditions wreaked a bit of havoc on the team's strategy, as Westbrook made two pit stops prior to the six-hour mark to switch from dry tires onto rain tires before switching back to dry tires just as the one-quarter mark was reached. As a result, the No. 66 machine was one lap down, but well within sight of the class leader.
"Nobody told me we were leading," said Lally following his stint. "We've had a couple of radio issues here and there. I can hear the guys, but I don't get any radio interference until they hit the button. Then, I hear them and somebody else. Knock on wood, the car is pretty darn good. These guys have been performing well here in the pits for us, and our car has been holding together. I'm looking forward to more. I want more. I want to win this thing."
"It was starting to get a little dark, so it's harder to see out the windshield, but the car is running really good," Ballou commented. "Traffic is pretty hectic. The DPs are getting a little aggressive on the way that they pass us. Overall, it really went smoothly. The car is running great and we're feeling good."
The No. 64 J Lowe Racing/TRG Globus/Adopt A Pig/CRG/Maxter/Rotax/MBA Group/F1 Air/SRS/NMT Porsche GT3 of Jim Lowe, Jim Pace, Tim Sugden, R J Valentine and Johannes van Overbeek was also one lap down in seventh place at the six-hour mark. Van Overbeek started the car from 29th on the grid but quickly worked his way forward and into the top 10. Van Overbeek turned the car over to Pace, followed by Lowe and then Sugden. Valentine had not driven in the first quarter of the race.
The No. 67 Monster Cable Need for Speed Porsche GT3 of Spencer Pumpelly, Tim George Jr., Emmanuel Collard, Romain Dumas and Bryan Sellers was one position behind the No. 64 in eighth place after six hours, but was two laps behind the leaders owing to the same difficulties with weather conditions.
Pumpelly started the car from third on the grid and ran comfortably inside the class top five before turning the car over to Collard, who found his way to the lead. Collard then gave way to George in the race's third hour before Dumas took over for a double stint. Sellers was driving at the one-quarter distance.
"For the moment, it's quite good," said Collard following his stint. "The car is fine. It's very difficult in traffic, because there are too many cars at the moment, so you have to be really careful. You have to be watching all the time in the mirror for the DP cars. Hopefully, we can stay like this and we'll see what happens tomorrow morning."
Ed Zabinski was running 16th after six hours in the No. 62 Burtin Engineering/Foametix/Westfund.com Porsche GT3 he is sharing with Jack Baldwin, Claudio Burtin, Martin Ragginger and Scott Tucker. Ragginger started the car and ran inside the top 10 throughout his stint before turning the car over to Burtin.
"Everything went good," Burtin said after his stint. "The car is running fine. The tires, brakes, everything is great right now. There's a long time to go."
Burtin then gave way to Jack Baldwin who drove two-and-a-half hours before handing over the controls to Tucker for a brief stint before the rains began to intensify. Tucker turned the car back over to Baldwin, who handed off to Zabinski when the team opted to switch back to slicks just before the six-hour mark. The car was four laps down.
"The car is fine," Baldwin said. "We're doing really good in the box there. We need 53s and 54s and that's the pace we're running. The car is fine. We've had really no issues other than I couldn't turn one of the alarms off. The alarm switch fell out of the steering wheel, so this red light is flashing in my eyes the whole time, so that's nice. Other than that, it's fine. I went a long time, two-and-a-half hours. I feel good, and the car is pretty easy to drive. It's good. It's fine."
While three of the TRG Porsches were in the top 10 after six hours, three others spent significant time in the garage area.
The first to go "behind the wall" was the No. 68 ACG Motorsports/Cohen Financial/Thomas Weisel Partners/Muffin Top Racing Porsche GT3 of John Mayes, Michael Auriemma, Michael Gomez, Brent Milner and Scott Schroeder. Milner ran afoul of another competitor just 42 minutes into the race, sending the car to the garage for repairs to its radiator and front splitter. The car was running 33rd in class, 25 laps behind the leader.
"I had a slow Mustang that got around me when the DPs passed, so I followed him through on the banking coming into the bus stop," Mayes explained. "I thought I would just pop out, knowing he would brake early. He broke early; I broke about the two-and-a-half, and got full lock-up on the left side. Rather than trying to drive it through, I let the brakes off so I could drive it straight and went right through the grass. I punctured a radiator and ripped off the splitter in the process. That set us back."
One hour and 10 minutes into the race, Hima Maher drove the No. 63 The DigiTrust Group/Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing/Impremedia/Reigel Tuning/Adam's Polishes/La Vi Porsche GT3 to the garage with gearbox problems. The car--which Maher is sharing with Duncan Ende, Pierre Borque and Ron Yarab Jr.--remained in the garage at the six-hour mark. It was credited with 41st in the GT class.
Just prior to the two-hour mark, the No. 65 Lavender Bridal Salon Porsche GT3 being driven at the time by Jason Daskalos also went to the garage for radiator repairs. However, the car did return to competition after repairs and co-drivers Daskalos, Tom Atherton, Russ Oasis and Jim Stout was running 30th in class after six hours. The No. 65 was 23 laps behind the class leader.