KREMER, ROUSH RACING SCORE BIG WINS IN ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Porsche claimed its 19th overall victory and Roush Racing its 10th straight GT class win in the 33rd running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the International Motor...
KREMER, ROUSH RACING SCORE BIG WINS IN ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Porsche claimed its 19th overall victory and Roush Racing its 10th straight GT class win in the 33rd running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the International Motor Sports Association's Exxon World Sports Car Championship and Supreme GT Series opener on Feb. 4-5 at Daytona International Speedway.
It was a stunning victory for Kremer Racing, which had not competed in the Rolex 24 since 1978. Its driver lineup included only one man, Jurgen Lassig, who had ever competed at Daytona.
Lassig, who last raced in the Rolex 24 in 1976, joined Daytona newcomers Christophe Bouchut of France, who created a bookend for his 1993 24 Hours of Le Mans win, also gained in his first try; Italian Giovanni Lavaggi; and German Formula 3 vet Marco Werner, who sat in a sports car for the first time when Rolex 24 practice opened on Thursday, in the Porsche Spyder K8 that ran in the Le Mans World Sports Car class and covered 690 laps of the 3.56-mile circuit (2,456.4 miles) in 24 hours, 51.037 seconds; an average speed of 102.290 mph.
Brix Racing won the Exxon World Sports Car Championship class for the second straight year when its Oldsmobile Spice BDG02 finished second, more than five laps behind, driven by Canadian Jeremy Dale, Swede Fredrik Ekblom and Jay Cochran.
Rounding out the top five were three GT class cars. Roush Racing won the GTS-1 category for the 10th time in the last 11 editions of the Rolex 24, after sitting out the event last year. The crew and crowd serenaded driver/actor Paul Newman, who turned 70 on Jan. 26, with "Happy Birthday" after he drove the car to the finish. He teamed with four-time GT winner Mark Martin, Tom Kendall and Mike Brockman to finish third.
Five-time Rolex 24 winner Hurley Haywood persevered through turbo-related problems to finish fourth in a Porsche 911 GT, along with car owner Jochen Rohr, David Murry and Bernd Maylaender. Fifth was the GTS-2 winner, a Swiss-entered Porsche 911 RSR driven by German Ulrich Richter, who won the class for the second straight year; Swiss Lillian Bryner and Enzo Calderari; and Italian Renato Mastropietro.
The performance of four Ferrari 333 SP World Sports Cars in qualifying proved the cars would be very quick. Italian Mauro Baldi set a WSC record of 1:43.326, an average speed of 124.035 mph. But, just as suspected, engine problems eliminated three of the cars and relegated the fourth to an eighth-place finish.
Kremer brought its turbocharged Porsche despite a late rules change designed to equalize the performance of turbocharged and normally-aspirated WSCs. The change caused the factory Porsche team to withdraw its two Le Mans WSC entries.
"All our planning before the race was for the old rules, because there was no way we could test the new rules," said Kremer team manager Achim Stroth. "We felt that the reliability of these cars would give us the best chance to be there at the end."