Magnus Racing Debuts in GRAND-AM Rolex Series with a Top-Five Finish at Rolex 24 at Daytona January 31, 2010 (Daytona Beach, Fl) -- It was a 24-Hour to remember and, at times, to forget, but the Magnus Racing pits were all smiles and cheers as...
Magnus Racing Debuts in GRAND-AM Rolex Series with a Top-Five Finish at Rolex 24 at Daytona
January 31, 2010 (Daytona Beach, Fl) -- It was a 24-Hour to remember and, at times, to forget, but the Magnus Racing pits were all smiles and cheers as Austria's Richard Lietz drove the No.44 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3 Cup across the line under the checkered flag in fifth position in the GT class.
The previous day, the feeling in the team and amongst the drivers -- Lietz, Salt Lake City's John Potter, Long Beach's Craig Stanton, and the Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen -- could not have been any different. At the start of the 48th Rolex 24 at Daytona, the No.44 Porsche raced up to eleventh from its 22nd starting position before tumbling down the order with black flags for a blown out rear window, before a lengthy period in the garage to replace a radiator after Bleekemolen struck a cone knocked in his way by another car. When the car was repaired and re-emerged with Lietz at the wheel, the car was a lowly 27th on the time sheets. More bad luck struck later, as damaged caused by the cone created damage that led to a vibration, costing the team further laps in the pits.
With the bulk of the team's trouble over by the early morning hours, the team was able to cycle its drivers throughout the morning making progress through the field. While several cars further up the order began to encounter mechanical problems and fall off course, the Magnus Racing Porsche steadily moved up the field until it cracked the top-10 just after sunrise on Sunday morning.
The heroes of the morning were Bleekemolen and Lietz, who double-stinted the car up to a sixth place in the running order. As the final portion of the race played out, the Magnus Racing Porsche found itself mixed into a battle with four other cars for a sixth place -- which later became fifth, and then fourth, due to retirements.
The final hour of the race saw Lietz in the car holding onto a narrow lead over the fifth-placed Chevrolet Camaro. The team's strategy was to stretch its fuel as long as possible, but at the end the team had to bring Lietz in for a splash of fuel in order to finish the race. At the end of 24 hours of racing, the car finished in fifth place -- a huge reversal of fortunes over the course of the 24 hours.
"The race was really an emotional roller coaster, and I'm thrilled for the team and proud of them that we had such a great result," said team owner and driver John Potter. "From the start, we had a run of bad luck and our team responded by working hard, working fast, and getting our car back on track. Each time we had to do something, they were on it, and they really deserve a lot of credit for keeping us going.
"Craig, Jeroen, and Richard drove spectacularly, kept the car safe and always brought it back as good as they found it. It was a great lineup to be a part of."
The fifth place result and points gives Magnus Racing a strong foundation for their aspirations for a strong season in the competitive GRAND-AM Rolex Sportscar series. The team will appear next at the second round at Homestead-Miami Speedway at the beginning of March.
-source: magnus racing