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Grand-Am: Alegra inherits to fulfil prophecy.


"With Banner Racing, Speedsource and Blackforest Racing having a lot of factory support, we realise all the Porsche teams will have our work cut out. But Daytona could bring a surprise winner in GT..." said Alegra Motorsports operations manager Theo Papadopoulos before the Rolex 24. Little did he know.

Papdopoulos' Miami-based team wasn't really a contender in the early stages of the Grand-Am season-opener, but found itself ideally placed to pick up the pieces when the front-running Tafel and Farnbacher-Loles squads ran into trouble late on.

The #85 Farnbacher Loles Porsche 911 GT3 Cup led the GT class for 397 laps - or more than 15 hours - before an oil leak and an overheating engine ended its race with only an hour and 15 minutes to go. The #74 Tafel Racing car, which had taken the lead at the start, had already fallen back in the seventh hour, when a flat tyre came apart and broke a radiator and suspension pieces, ending its chances, allowing the Alegra entry of Carlos de Quesada, Scooter Gabel, Marc Basseng and Jean-Francois Dumoulin to inherit the advantage.

The #22 crew did not have it easy in the closing stages, however, as the #07 Banner Racing Pontiac closed inexorably on the lead. With 30 minutes to go, both Porsche and Pontiac headed in the pits at the same time, but the Alegra crew serviced its car and got it back on the track before the competition, sealing the win.

"The car was running hot near the end of the race, and the second-place Pontiac closed to within seven seconds, but we short-shifted the engine, were easy on the brakes, and stayed away from traffic to stay in front," Dumoulin revealed after the win had been sealed by a scant seven seconds.

The team openly admitted that it was an underdog, not only against the well-supported rival marques, but also among larger Porsche outfits with professional drivers, but
worked hard to prepare the car for the event.

"We struggled through winter test days and most of practice without getting the set-up right and, then, right before qualifying on Thursday, we finally got it," team owner de Quesada smiled.

Alegra's success made up for disappointment in the Porsche-powered Daytona Prototype ranks, where Brumos Racing's #59 recorded its best finish in fourth place. The #58 sister car had been a contender until contact - ironically with a 911 GT3 - during the night cracked the bell housing, causing the team to change the rear end and lose almost an hour in the garage. Mechanical problems and/or incidents also slowed the other Porsche-powered prototypes run by TruSpeed, Ruby Tuesday Alex Job Racing, Cheever Racing and Howard Motorsports.


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]
Spencer Pumpelly - TRG Porsche [Pic credit: Grand Am]
Borcheller/Barbosa - Action Express Racing Porsche Riley [Pic credit: Grand Am Media]
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

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