"Our car was good from the moment we unloaded it," Lester said. "We feel like we can be much more formidable, a force to be reckoned with. We're really excited about what the future holds."
The #6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley nearly missed the race after John Pew crashed late in morning practice, causing extensive damage to the front end of the car co-driven by Michael Valiante. The team repaired the car with moments to spare before the start, and came from 17th to finish fourth.
Rounding out the top five was the #61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley of Burt Frisselle and Mark Wilkins, which started last on the 19-car grid after a post-qualifying infraction.
Also leading the race was the #13 Lennox/Brach's Chevrolet Riley, with Ricky Taylor pacing eleven circuits midway through the race. Taylor and Mike Forest finished twelfth.
A number of expected contenders encountered problems.
David Donohue, who co-drove to victory in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, went to the garage after an electrical fire in the #58 Brumos Porsche Riley. The team replaced the wiring harness to enable Donohue and Darren Law to score points. Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia, who also shared in the Rolex 24 victory, were competitive in the debut run of the #90 Spirit of Daytona Porsche Coyote before a mechanical malfunction caused Garcia to crash in the tri-oval on lap 36, bringing out the second and final caution.
Engine problems on the first lap sidelined the #77 Doran Racing McDonald's/South African Airways Ford Dallara of Hennie Groenewald. The three-time South African stock car champion and co-driver Dion von Moltke were making their Daytona Prototype debut.
Dirk Werner led the final 29 laps to lead the #87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 to its third consecutive victory and fourth in five races, opening a 29-point lead (221-192) in the battle for the Acxiom GT championship.
Werner held off Sylvain Tremblay by 1.531 seconds, denying the #70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 started by Nick Ham its third consecutive victory in the event.
While Ham led the opening 35 laps, Keen ran a steady second and led a lap before turning the cover over to Werner.
"For our success, the key is that Leh Keen keeps our car in the front in the beginning of the race," said Werner, the 2007 GT champion. "In the beginning of my run, Sylvan was not putting pressure on me. He was trying to stay close. I knew he would try to attack me at the end of the race - which he did."
Rolex 24 GT winners Andy Lally and Justin Marks finished third in the #67 Construct Corp./No Fear Energy Drinks Porsche GT3. Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal took fourth in the #69 FXDD Mazda RX-8, followed by Eric Lux and Wolf Henzler in the #86 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3.
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