Ganassi closing on Rolex 24 win
|By Diego Mejia||Sunday, January 27th 2008, 17:35 GMT|
Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas are closing on victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, after the rival No.6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley had to pit from the lead with a mechanical problem.
With less than three an a half hours remaining, the No.6 car driven by Burt Friselle started smoking heavily when approaching the chicane on the backstraight. The car had experienced a bell-housing failure that forced MSR into a long pitstop in their garage.
Montoya was running second at the time after a pitstop for fuel and tyres had put his Ganassi team behind the No.6 car. The Colombian was closing the gap on the leaders before the incident and now enjoys a healthy lead of over four laps to the No. 99 Bob Stallings Pontiac Riley, which has Grand-Am series co-champion Alex Gurney at the wheel.
"It looks pretty good," Montoya said after his last driving stint, which had lasted for nearly three hours.
"It was getting a little hot. We had a five-lap lead, so we decided just to back off and bring the car home. We've got enough of a lead, we can just cruise along.
"I don't even want to think about winning. We're doing good and everything is going our way. Until the fat lady sings, it's not over."
If the No.1 Ganassi car can hold on to the lead, it will be the team's third consecutive Daytona 24 Hours victory - a new record for the event. It will also be a second consecutive Rolex 24 win for Montoya and Pruett, who shared their car with Salvador Duran last year.
The No.9 Penske-Taylor Pontiac Riley is up to third place, having faced overheating issues in the early hours of Sunday. It is currently running seven laps behind the leaders and on the same lap as the No.76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley of Nic Jonsson, Ricardo Zonta and Darren Turner.
Raphael Matos continues to consolidate the GT class lead with his No.70 Speedsource Mazda RX-8 and enjoys a four-lap gap to the No.66 TRG Porsche GT3.
Both cars currently round up the top ten on the overall leaderboard with less than two hours of racing left before the chequered flag.