After struggling in the early rounds of the 2006 Rolex Series, defending champion Max Angelelli and the #10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team returned to their winning ways in Sunday's Road & Track 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Co-driving with Jan Magnussen - who led 18 laps during his stint in the cockpit - Angelelli claimed the lead from David Donohue's #58 Red Bull Brumos Racing Porsche with 21 laps remaining, and then held off several late challenges from Alex Gurney in the #99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Riley-Pontiac to win by 2.798secs.

It was Angelelli's first victory since the Crown Royal 250 at Watkins Glen last September, and Magnussen's first overall triumph in Rolex Series competition since a 200-mile race at the same venue in 2004. It was also the first overall victory of the season for Pontiac, which has won the last two Daytona Prototype engine manufacturer championships.

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"Obviously, I'm very happy," Angelelli said, "I thought this team had everything in place to be a top-three team, and to win here is good. The team did a good job in the pits and in the race strategy."

For Magnussen, the victory comes in just his second Daytona Prototype start of the season, and only his third class appearance since 2004. As he did for the Crown Royal Grand American Challenge of Long Beach last month, the Dane drove in place of owner and reigning co-champion Wayne Taylor.

"I'm so happy," Magnussen said, "The car was great from the beginning, and the race strategy worked out well for us. I had a good time out there. It was fun. Our car was great and we were able to push hard the whole time. Obviously, I've got to thank Wayne and the SunTrust team for the opportunity. Everybody did a great job."

Gurney and new co-driver Jon Fogarty came home second in the #99 machine, the performance a Rolex Series best for Fogarty in just his second start with GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing. The runner-up result tied Gurney's best performance in the series, matching a second-place run in the CompUSA 200 at The Glen last August. The performance was all the more impressive given the fact that Fogarty and Gurney had to overcome damaged bodywork from an incident with a GT car early in the race.

"Obviously, we would have liked to have won, but this feels great," Gurney admitted, "Everything worked well today. We were able to get through traffic and overcame the incident with the GT car. Overall, it was a good day."

"It feels great," Fogarty agreed, "Laguna's a home track for me, and I had a lot of family and friends here. Unfortunately, a GT car got in the back of us and kind of messed up the balance, but it didn't disrupt it too bad. It's great to be on the podium here."

Completing the podium were Jorg Bergmeister and Colin Braun, having brought the #76 Krohn Racing Riley-Ford home in third place. It was the duo's second podium result of the season, and their best run since a second-place outing in March's Mexico City 250. More importantly, however, the performance moved Bergmeister back to the top of the Daytona Prototype point standings, the German having briefly lost the lead to Ruby Tuesday drivers Patrick Long and Mike Rockenfeller after the weekend's qualifying race. He now leads again, but by just two points, after six of 14 races.

"It feels really good to back in the points lead," Bergmeister said, "We made some changes to the car in the warm-up, which helped us during the race, and the guys also did a fantastic job in the pits and that made a big difference today."

Braun admitted that the pairing had struggled a bit in qualifying, but gained 'a bunch of time' for the race.

"That's why we're on the podium," he said, praising the efforts of the team and crew, "We've finished second, third and fifth this season so, hopefully, we can get a win before too long."

Michael McDowell and Guy Cosmo came home fourth in the #19 Playboy/Uniden Racing Crawford-Ford, the duo's second consecutive fourth-place performance, moving McDowell into fourth place in the Daytona Prototype championship chase. He trails Long and Rockenfeller by just one point and is three in arrears of Bergmeister.

Donohue, who led for four laps, and co-driver Darren Law charged from 22nd on the grid to earn a fifth-place result, their best since taking fourth place in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and one which earned the #58 co-drivers the Daytona Prototype SunTrust Improve Your Position Award.

It was a tough race for Long and Rockefeller, meanwhile. The pair entered the Road & Track 250 with a 21-point lead in the DP standings and started from the pole thanks to Long's victory in Saturday's qualifying race. Rockenfeller led the opening 21 laps, but the day began to turn on the #23 team when he had a mishap on pit-road when handing over to Long under full-course caution on lap 22.

The problem dropped the Alex Job-run machine well down the order, although Long made up several positions before encountering problems with the car's gearshift. The difficulties eventually cost the team several laps and Long and Rockenfeller wound up 23rd in class, ending their run of podiums.

It was a tough day for Oswaldo Negri Jr and co-driver Mark Patterson in the #60 Flight Options Riley-Lexus run by Michael Shank Racing. After starting from the outside of the front row, Patterson was shuffled back in the running order early in the race, before giving way to Negri. The Brazilian put together a strong charge toward the front of the field, and took the lead at the start of a full-course caution period on lap 60. Unfortunately, however, he was then penalised for failing to fall-in behind the pace car just after taking the lead, and was also punished for speeding on pit-lane on his subsequent pit-stop.

Negri was also involved in a late-race dust-up with MSR team-mate Mike Borkowski's #6 Mears Motor Coach Riley-Lexus and Michael Valiante's #5 Finlay Motorsports Crawford-Ford, but soldiered home with an eleventh-place result.

Meanwhile, a pair of highly-touted teams new to the Rolex Series this year found their way to the head of the field for the first time, as Mario Haberfeld led 19 laps in the #12 Lowe's Fernandez Racing Riley-Pontiac, and Alex Figge led one lap in the #89 Pacific Coast Motorsports car. Haberfeld and co-driver Adrian Fernandez wound up finishing 15th, however, with Figge and co-driver Ryan Dalziel just behind in 16th.

Just 24 points separate the top four manufacturers in the Daytona Prototype engine manufacturer championship. Porsche leads with 250 points, followed by Lexus with 243, Ford with 231 and Pontiac with 226. In the chassis constructor battle, Riley used the Road & Track 250 victory to take a six-point lead over Crawford.

Pontiac leads Porsche, 236-227, in the GT manufacturer standings, but Wolf Henzler and Robin Liddell finally brought Tafel Racing its first-ever feature race victory.

Henzler started the #72 NEC Porsche fourth on the GT class grid, but didn't waste any time moving up the order. The German passed two machines at turn two on the opening lap to settle into second place and ran in that position throughout the opening stint. Claiming the lead during a series of pit-stops during the race's first caution period, the #72 Porsche never trailed again.

"It is very special when a team wins for the first time in a series, and you can see it on the faces of the whole team," Henzler said afterwards, "The team did a good job, the strategy was good and the pit-stops were good. I am just so happy right now."

Liddell took control of the #72 during a late caution period, and kept a hard-charging Andy Lally, driving the #65 TRG/F1 Air Pontiac GTO.R, behind him the rest of the way. The previous best finish for Liddell and Henzler had been a third place in round three at Homestead-Miami Speedway

"It was a pretty nail-biting finish," the Scot said, "Today was the first time we did a good job as an entire team. Andy and myself were driving as hard as we could - he was clearly closing on me - but we had a clean fight. It was hard to hang on but, for me, it is the most special win I've ever had. For us, as a team, it was important."

With the runners-up finish, Lally and co-driver Marc Bunting maintain their lead in the GT driver standings, now holding a four-point edge over Liddell and Henzler. It was the fourth podium finish of the season for the #65 machine, and an eleventh straight podium finish for TRG, dating back to the CompUSA 200 at The Glen last August.

"We gained little by little, and both Robin and I were driving on the edge," Lally confirmed, "On the last lap, I made a run from a little further back than I should have. We went side-by-side in turn two, but he was able to power down and hold the lead."

Bunting fell to fourth in the opening moments of the race, but moved back up to third before the race's first caution. Pit strategy late on by the #65 crew shuffled the car just behind the #72 Porsche for the last sprint to the finish.

"I'm happy to be on the podium again, and for us to maintain our position in the points," Bunting said, "It went good for us today. I turned the car over to Andy in third place, and he brought it home in second. All in all, a pretty good day."

Ian James and Ryan Hunter-Reay finished third in the #17 SAMAX Porsche GT3. It was the Rolex Series debut for Hunter-Reay, who finished fourth in the qualifying race, and the best finish of the season for James. Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards finished fourth in the #64 TRG Pontiac and, with 203 points, the duo is still in the championship hunt.

Bill Auberlen and Matt Alhadeff rounded out the top five in the #05 Sigalsport BMW M3, the best finish for the #05 machine since a fourth-place class result at Homestead-Miami Speedway.