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Grand-Am: Rolex 24: Victory again for Ganassi.

A combination of quick driving and slick pit work saw Chip Ganassi Racing fight off the attentions of SAMAX and SunTrust to take a second consecutive victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona., albeit with Juan Pablo Montoya, Salvador Duran and Scott Pruett at the wheel this time.

In a captivating race from the off the could have gone one of either three ways until the latter stages of the race, Chip Ganassi and SAMAX had swapped the lead continuously through various driver changes, but it was Pruett's performance in the Lexus-Riley over the final hour that proved the crucial difference, eventually crossing the line a clear minute and a half up on his nearest rivals.

Despite falling away considerably in the final stages, SAMAX can be delighted with their effort nonetheless after battling away with their rivals for the duration of the race, leading at the 21 hours mark after Darren Manning produced a scintillating stint to get into the lead with only three hours remaining. However, team-mate Ryan Dalziel was unable to do enough to keep a fired up Montoya behind him through the final stage of pit stops

Handing over to Patrick Carpentier for the final stint, the Canadian gave chase but slipped back from Pruett, who was appropriately allowed to cross the line to win his seventh Rolex title.

Still, the trio, along with Milka Duno, have done enough to record a first Daytona podium result for their CITGO sponsored Pontiac-Riley, benefiting from a bit of late bad luck for the SunTrust Pontiac, who had gotten up into second place with an hour remaining after vaulting SAMAX in the pit lane, only for their brakes to fail and force Jan Magnussen to haul the car back to the pit lane for immediate repairs.

Nonetheless, the car, driven by Magnussen, Max Angelelli, Jeff Gordon and Wayne Taylor, was back on track within two laps to record a third place finish, even if the final result fails to highlight the six laps they made up through the night following earlier delays.

Having battled for a spot on the podium earlier in the race, the #59 Brumos Porsche eventually fell away thanks to persistent fuel pick-up problems. Nonetheless, the unfancied partnership of Roberto Moreno, JC France, Joao Barbosa, Hurley Haywood and David Donohue did enough to claim a surprise fourth place finish six laps off the lead.

They in turn finished a clear four laps up on the AIM Autosport Lexus Riley, an impressive result for the young team on only their second visit to Daytona.

They had been running seventh for the majority of the race but moved up a spot when the #2 Chip Ganassi Lexus-Riley crashed off just before the 18 hour mark. Sixth became fifth in the closing stages when the #7 SAMAX car ran into problems during its final driver change.



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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