Ganassi #01 leads after eight hours
|By Gary Watkins||Sunday, January 30th 2011, 05:08 GMT|
The lead Chip Ganassi Racing entry held a narrow lead in the Daytona 24 Hours at one-third distance.
The #01 Riley-Ford MkXI/XX driven by Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Graham Rahal and Joey Hand led the best of the Action Express team's Porsche-powered Rileys by just over 23 seconds at eight hours. The third-place car, the lead Level 5 Motorsports Riley, was running third, a further three tenths of a second in arrears.
The best of the Ganassi cars bounced back from a delay at the start of the second hour when the team opted to change the gear cluster because the car was bouncing off the rev-limiter in top gear. The pitstop, completed under yellow flags, only dropped the car one lap off the lead.
The car quickly moved back onto the lead lap in Pruett's hands and then went to the top of the leaderboard during the fifth hour.
The second Ganassi Riley, driven by Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon and Jamie McMurray, was running sixth and on the same lap as the leaders at the eight-hour mark. The team exploited a series of safety car periods to get the car back on the lead lap after losing two laps with a pair of punctures, before Montoya drove from the back of the pack and into the race lead over the course of a stint.
Ganassi subsequently brought the #02 car in for the same ratio change as the sister car during a safety car period after seven hours. The car lost more than a lap, but quickly got back on terms with the frontrunners.
The United Autosports Riley-Ford, in which former Le Mans 24 Hours winners Martin Brundle and Mark Blundell are teamed, was running in the top 10. The car ran trouble-free for the first eight hours apart from a minor starting glitch.
The SunTrust Dallara-Chevrolet that qualified second with Max Angelleli lost six laps after Ricky Taylor, son of team boss Wayne, was involved in a collision with Montoya. The pole-winning Flying Lizard Riley-Porsche led the first hour in the hands of Jorg Bergmeister before dropping 19 laps when team owner Seth Neiman damaged the splitter when he went off avoiding a spinning GT car.
The GT class was lead by the Brumos Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup driven by Daytona legend Hurley Haywood, Marc Lieb, Andrew Davis and Leh Keen.