Grand AM » 1 January 1901
Grand-Am: Rolex 24 - 15hrs: Ganassi hold steady.
As the Rolex 24 at Daytona delves deep into the small hours of another day, Target Chip Ganassi continue to hold steady at the head of the field following a rather more cautious few hours than the race had seen up to the halfway point.
Although timing screens saw the SAMAX car of Ryan Dalziel, Darren Manning, Patrick Carpentier and Milka Duno in the lead as the clock struck 1.30am, exactly twelve hours since the race started, the pit stop cycle soon put the Ganassi Lexus Riley of Juan Pablo Montoya, Salvador Duran and Scott Pruett back into the position they have held for much of the race.
As the race reached 15 hours, Pruett was in the seat as he bids to become the most winningest driver of the classic endurance race, while Carpentier is keeping SAMAX on the lead lap, by circulating some 45 seconds behind the leader.
Also creeping onto the lead lap at the strike was the SunTrust Pontiac of Max Angelelli which is continuing its comeback from problems early on in the race, the former winners hauling their car into a provisional podium position.
It was a spot that had been held by Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon and Memo Rojas, who have embarked on a patchy day of racing, a spin for Rojas caused them to slip down the leaderboard yet again, although Dixon is currently on a fight back in fifth place.
Between SunTrust and Chip Ganassi cars is the unfancied second Brumos entry currently being piloted by Joao Barbosa, the team somewhat making up for the disappointment of its sister car that was eliminated by a collision with another vehicle in the earlier hours after running equally as high.
The second SAMAX car is up to sixth place following a spirited drive by Tomas Enge, the Czech driver getting the team just three laps off the lead and in a good position should others in front hit problems. Kris Szekeres is currently in the driver's seat.
They in turn are four laps up on AIM Lexus Riley, which has quietly moved through the field at the expense of others and is circulating comfortably in seventh place, just ahead of the Finlaw Ford Crawford, the Ruby Tuesday Porsche Crawford and the Doran Ford.
In the GT class, the #07 Pontaic GXP.R, making its debut at Daytona, again holding onto the lead, chased by the #17 Doncaster, #85 Farnbacher and #70 TRG Porsches, as well as the Speedsource Mazda RX-8.
Leading positions - Rolex 24: 15hrs
1. Pruett/Montoya/Duran Ganassi 415
2. Carpentier/Duno/Manning/Dalziel SAMAX 415 laps
3. Angelelli/Taylor/Gordon/Magnussen SunTrust 415
4. Haywood/France/Moreno/Barbosa Brumos 413
5. Dixon/Wheldon/Rojas Ganassi 413
6. Enge/Festa/Montanari/Yasukawa/Szekeres SAMAX 412
7. Frisselle/Frisselle/Wilkins/Empringham AIM 408
8. Finlay/Valiante/McDowell/Labonte Finlay 404
9. Long/Bergmeister/Dumas Ruby Tuesday 403
10. Gidley/Gollin/Servia/Jourdain Doran 403
1. (16) Pilgrim/O'Connell/Edwards/Collins Banner 329
3. (18) Lacey/Mowlem/Wilkins/Papadopoulos/Arnold Doncaster 260
2. (17) Ehret/Keen/Werner/Hardt Farnbacher Loles 329
4. (19) Valentine/Pumpelly/Lally/Greenberg/Buckler TRG 327
5. (20) Ham/ Haskell/Tremblay/Pobst Speedsource 327
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