Grand AM » 28 January 2007
Grand-Am: Porsche push dented, Mazzacane injured.
Porsche's pursuit of both Chip Ganassi Racing and possible honours in the Rolex 24 at Daytona took a hit in the tenth hour of the race when both the leading Brumos entry and the debutant VICI Racing crashed out.
Although the VICI team was not a contender for victory, the resurgent Brumos squad led by David Donohue and Darren Law certainly was, having swapped places with the leading #01 Ganassi Riley-Lexus. It all came crashing down around their ears, however, when the Red Bull-backed entry, co-crewed by IRL racewinners Buddy Rice and Scott Sharp, was collected by a lapped GT car while chasing down leader.
The contact forced the #58 to retire to the garage area, where the Brumos engineers diagnosed a cracked bell housing which saw the crew set about replacing the entire rear end.
It was a similar story further down the field, where expected frontrunner Ruby Tuesday Alex Job Racing continued to have bad luck with its #23 Crawford-Porsche. Having already been sidelined earlier in the race by alternator problems, this time a transmission problem cost the team another seven laps, dropping it to 14th place at the end of the ninth hour.
More serious, however, was the exit of the #18 VICI Racing XM Satellite Fabcar, which crashed out with sometime F1 driver Gaston Mazzacane at the wheel. Having lost control, the Argentine hit the armco protecting a light pole and was injured in the crash. Although he was awake and alert when the emergency crew arrived at the scene, he was taken to Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach for further observation.
The #51 Cheever Racing entry also had a brush with the wall, but survived the impact with only a loss of position, dropping to 33rd place. However it was not all doom-and-gloom for the German manufacturer as the #59 Brumos Riley-Porsche was holding down fifth place overall, and both the #39 Cheever Racing and #16 Dyson/Howard entries were making up lost ground to lie on the fringes of the top ten.
IN GT, Porsche was enjoying greater success, despite erstwhile leader Tafel Racing seeing one of its cars sidelined when a punctured tyre came apart and damaged the suspension, brakes and a radiator. In its stead, the #85 Farnbacher Loles 911 GT3 Cup assumed control of the class, with the #72 Tafel Racing entry helping stave off attacks from the Banner Racing Pontiacs.
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