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Ganassi revels in three straight at Daytona.


Rolex 24 winning team boss Chip Ganassi has admitted that little comes close to the feeling of triumph in one of the world's most respected races - especially for the third year running.

Ganassi watched as Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Juan Montoya and Dario Franchitti combined to give Lexus a third consecutive Daytona 24 Hours victory and, in the process, made Chip Ganassi Racing the first team in history to win three straight editions of the event. The quartet team led the final 101 laps - over three hours and 19 minutes - to repeat the victory achieved by Pruett, Montoya and Salvador Duran in 2007.

“It's hard to put into words what winning does to you and what it feels like," Ganassi admitted, "You can't touch it, you can't feel it, but it sure does feel good.

"One thing a lot of people don't consider are the conditions that these guys had to drive in. They were just miserable. Particularly between three and six this morning. The track was very wet, your vision is limited...just to keep these cars on the asphalt was a huge task, and I want to give credit where credit is due to the guys that drove in those conditions, Dario and Memo. They drove in the conditions that were the most horrific out there, and just to stay in the game under those conditions is a huge challenge.”

Despite qualifying sixth, the #01 team started from pit-lane after making the late decision to change from wet weather tyres to slicks before the start. The move dropped the car all the way back to 18th, but Pruett and Montoya made short work of taking the team into the top five by the fifth hour of the race and, after that, the car never dropped outside of the leading quintet.

Once again, reliability played a part in the Ganassi success, with none of the drivers putting a wheel wrong as both the Lexus engine and car ran flawlessly. The team was never forced to pit for more than brake pads, fuel or tyres, despite the sometimes treacherously wet conditions, while all of its rivals fell away at some point in the course of the event.

"I think it's awesome that we came back here for three in a row, and it's exciting for me to be a part of two in a row," Pruett said, “Just like last year, we had zero problems. There's just one little mark on the car, otherwise it's totally clean. We didn't touch anybody, we didn't hit anybody. We could run fast without getting ourselves in trouble. Winning the 24 hours here is a true test of man and machine, and a big part of that is the Lexus engine. It just never missed a beat.

"Your last one is always your best, but this was tough. The conditions were pretty treacherous because it was rain, then it was dry, then it was a little bit of wet again. That makes for a really tough race, so I can't say enough for all of the Ganassi guys."

While the American veteran was able to celebrate a record-setting eighth Daytona class victory, Montoya was able to look back on his second straight win, while both Rojas and Franchitti claimed their first Rolex watches.



Related Pictures

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Pruett/Franchitti/Montoya/Rojas - Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Lexus   [pic credit: grand-am.com]
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]

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