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Grand-Am: Rolex 24 - 21hrs: SunTrust join fight.

In what quite possibly could be one of the closest finishes ever for a 24-hour endurance race, three cars are battling for the Rolex 24 at Daytona title, with SAMAX, SunTrust and Chip Ganassi heading into the final three hours less than five seconds apart.

Currently the SAMAX Pontiac of Darren Manning, Ryan Dalziel, Milka Duno and Patrick Carpentier have assumed the lead of the race again from the #1 Ganassi Lexus-Riley of Juan Pablo Montoya, Salvador Duran and Scott Pruett when they were forced to pit twice within a few laps.

This was due to a caution period caused by their #1 Chip Ganassi team-mates, reigning champions Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon, as well as Memo Rojas, after Rojas attempted to pass a backmarker but ran slightly wide and slammed into the tyre barriers with gusto on the wet grass.

The ensuing damage has forced the trio to retire from the race, a great disappointment for a team that had been running comfortably in fourth place.

SAMAX took the opportunity of the caution period to dive into the pit lane and replace Manning with Dalziel, the former having done a magnificent job of holding onto Duran in tricky conditions following several sporadic showers that dropped lap times considerably.

With an eye on getting themselves back in sync with their pit stops, Montoya also came in and remained inside the car, returning to the circuit with the opportunity to catch Dalziel ahead of him before the circuit went green again.

What the two perhaps didn't account for was the arrival of the SunTrust Pontiac that has staged a marvellous comeback over the race following problems early on, Jan Magnussen getting the car onto the lead lap before handing over to Max Angelelli, who duly used the caution to get the team onto the tail of Dalziel and Montoya.

When the race did get underway again some 15 minutes later, Montoya quickly dispatched the backmarkers ahead to get onto the tail of Dalziel, the Chip Ganassi car appearing faster on the infield, but Dalziel having the advantage around the banked oval.

Montoya however was struggling rather more to scythe his way through the backmarkers and when he dived around the outside of one of the GT cars, who then proceeded to block him, Angelelli duly took advantage to slip ahead into second place.



Related Pictures

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Max Angelelli / Jordan Taylor. GRAND-AM Championship Weekend Presented by BMW at Lime Rock Park. 2013 Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series
Max Angelelli / Jordan Taylor. Continental Tire Sports Car Festival. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 2013 Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series
Action. VisitFlorida.com Sports Car 250 at Road America. Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series [Pic credit: Grand AM]
Starworks Motorsport BMW/Riley duo Brendon Hartley and Scott Mayer celebrate their first Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series victory at Road America [Pic credit: Grand AM]
Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype (left) to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Alex Gurney and Jo Fogarty, drivers of the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP (right) finish in second place. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
John Edwards and Robin Liddell, drivers of the # 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R., race to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the Grand Touring (GT) class of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Juan Pablo Montoya, Memo Rojas, Scott Pruett and Charlie Kimball, co-drivers of the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates TELMEX/Target Ford BMW Riley celebrate their win in victory lane at the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on January 27, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Rolex Series action [Pic credit: Grand-Am]
Alex Popow and Sebastian Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Ford Riley, celebrate in Victory Lane after wininng the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Alex Popow and Sebastien Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Soloson Ford Riley, celebrate after winning the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The winning #60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley car is brought into victory lane after a gruelling 50th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona. [Picture Credit: Daytona International Speedway]
Action Express win the Rolex 24 [Pic credit: Grand Am]
Derek Johnston [Pic credit: Grand Am]
Vic Elford, the 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona Grand Marshal (Photo credit: Motorsports Images and Archives)
The No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Porsche Coyote that will be tested by 2009 Radical European Masters Champion Derek Johnston at Virginia International Raceway
Max Angelelli and Brian Friselle win at Daytona [Pic credit: Grand Am Media]
Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas - TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Lexus   [pic credit: Grand-Am]

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