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Ganassi repeats in close one.

In one of the most spectacular finishes in the 45-race history of the Rolex 24, the #01 TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley trio of Scott Pruett, Juan Pablo Montoya and Salvador Duran emerged on top in a three-car battle over the final hours of the 2007 race.

While the #01 team never fell out of the top-three overall in the final 21 hours of the race, the battle came to a head late in the 20th hour with Ryan Dalziel in the #11 CITGO/SAMAX Pontiac Riley leading Montoya and Max Angelelli in the #10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley in a nose-to-tail fight for the overall lead. Dalziel managed to keep both vaunted road racers behind him, although Montoya and Angelelli did exchange second place a handful of times.

The battle continued for nearly an hour before Dalziel surrendered the lead to Angelelli when he pitted for fuel and tyres. Angelelli led one lap before Montoya claimed the lead for good in turn four with slightly less than two hours and 45 minutes remaining. At the conclusion of that lap - 578 - Angelelli pulled onto pit-lane and Montoya moved out into the lead.

The Colombian got customary stellar service from the TELMEX/Target crew when he pitted two laps later and managed to maintain the lead of the race. He was pressured from behind by both Dalziel and Angelelli for the better part of another hour before both pursuers pitted before him to turn their cars over to co-drivers Jan Magnussen and Patrick Carpentier respectively.

Montoya gave control of the #01 machine, and the race lead, to Pruett with slightly more than 90 minutes remaining and the 2004 Rolex Series Daytona Prototype champion steadily pulled away over the remainder of the race, crossing the stripe 1min 15.842secs ahead of Carpentier to secure the victory. It was the third-closest finish in Rolex 24 history.

It was Pruett's second overall victory and seventh class triumph in the Rolex 24, moving him into sole possession of first place on the all-time Rolex 24 class winners list. He entered the race tied with Hurley Haywood and Peter Gregg with six class victories.

“We got three cars going for it on the lead lap with a couple of hours to go with very talented drivers putting on a fantastic show,” the American said, “That's what this is all about. When you get down to the very last stages of the race and be doing that, it says a lot about the series and the teams with the way they prep the cars and race them. This is no small feat getting everything going for this race between the people and the cars and all the preparation. It's just fantastic. I can't say enough for all the participants and everybody that came and saw it.”

For Montoya, the Rolex 24 triumph made him the first driver in history to win a 24-hour race at Daytona, the Indianapolis 500, a Formula One race and a Champ Car or IndyCar championship. The legendary Mario Andretti also owns a sportscar victory in addition to winning at Indy, in F1 and open-wheel championships, but his Daytona sportscar win came in the 1972 six-hour event. It was Montoya's first appearance in the Rolex 24, the Colombian having also won the Indianapolis 500 at his first and only appearance in 2000. He also claimed the 1999 Champ Car World Series title as a rookie. Like Dan Wheldon last year, JPM won his first Grand-AM race with the Ganassi operation, and now heads into the 2007 Nextel Cup campaign on a high.

“It was pretty tough,” Montoya said, “My last stint running with Angelelli and Dalziel, they were going at it really hard. It made my life pretty miserable. It got to a point when I would run behind them, I was third in the group, and I was like 'I'm not going to hop into that'. We led 18 or 20 hours up to that point. I managed to catch up to them. I knew our fuel mileage was better than them. You want to try to get ahead of them but at the same time you don't want to screw up the race. There was a fine line. But it was a good way to start the year with Chip.”



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]
Alex Gurney/Jon Fogarty - GAINSCO Bob Stallings Racing Riley-Pontiac   [pic credit: Grand-Am]

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