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Mixed emotions for Penske at Daytona

Penske Racing's Timo Bernhard admitted that he was disappointed with sixth place in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, but said the team could be proud with what it accomplished from the opening round of the Grand Am Rolex Series season.

Having turned its focus to the series this season after spending recent years in the ALMS, the sportscar arm of the successful open-wheel outfit went into the event amongst the favourites for victory – a fact shown by Bernhard qualifying just 0.001secs away from pole position in the #16 Porsche Riley.

Bernhard quickly moved into the lead of the race at the start and the car would remain a firm contender at the front until the 18th hour when Romain Dumas was forced to pit and the team dropped away from the front while the rear assembly was changed.

Further time was lost later in the race before the car took the flag in sixth place, some 18 laps back from the leaders, and while not happy with the result after the strong early showing, Bernhard said the team had learned plenty ahead of the second round in Virginia.

"I am not happy with the finish but I am definitely not disappointed with what we accomplished as a team," he said. "We all did what we set out to do. We learned a lot about the car and we learned a lot about what areas we need to work on for a strong finish in this series. More important, we have strong notes to prepare for our next race in Virginia."

Bernhard and Dumas were joined for the event by Penske's IndyCar ace Ryan Briscoe, and the American admitted he had enjoyed the experience.

"I believe everyone from our team did what they had to do; we all played our part," he said. "Pit strategy was on and the pit stops were executed extremely well. I had to keep reminding myself that there were several hours to go and then it happened.

“This was my first time driving with Romain and Timo and I would do it again if given the opportunity. They are both champions and we are all driven to win. Hopefully, we'll get another shot at the Gold Rolex next year."


Related Pictures

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The Penske Racing Porsche in action at Daytona [Pic credit: Grand-Am]
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)
John Edwards and Matt Bell, drivers of the # 9 Camaro GS.R, race to second place Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race 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]
Wilkins/Frisselle - AIM Autosport [Pic credit: Grand Am]
Spencer Pumpelly - TRG Porsche [Pic credit: Grand Am]

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