Collard takes narrow lead

SunTrust Racing and Howard-Boss Motorsports are engaged in an epic lead battle in the closing stages of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, with Emmanuel Collard leading Andy Wallace by just 10s after 21 hours

Collard takes narrow lead

Collard and his SunTrust Pontiac-Riley team-mates Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor had led the majority of the first half of the race but lost ground in the night when bodywork damage resulted in a prolonged pit stop. The Wallace/Tony Stewart/Jan Lammers Pontiac-Crawford moved ahead at this point, but Collard soon regained the lead lap.

After some driver changes at dawn Stewart was able to pull away from Taylor, leading by as much as 40s.

"He's doing exactly as I thought he would," said Wallace of co-driver Stewart. "He's fantastic - a real pro."

Former NASCAR champion Stewart, who came very close to winning the Rolex 24 last year, played down his contribution to the team however.

"The car's really good right now and I'm probably the weakest link the equation," he said. "We've got the two best drivers coming up (Wallace and Lammers) so we're in very good shape."

A full course yellow at around 8am Florida time brought the SunTrust Riley back into contention, with Collard emerging in front from the subsequent pit stops. The Frenchman and Wallace then went wheel to wheel for the lead as the race drew towards its final three hours, swapping the position twice within 20 laps before their battle was broken up a little by another sequence of pit stops. The SunTrust car came in several laps before the Howard-Boss machine, and strong out laps by Collard gave the Frenchman a 10s lead by the time Wallace rejoined the track. The British sportscar star then lost several more seconds in traffic.

Doran Racing's Matteo Bobbi, Didier Theys and Fabrizio Gollin continue to hold third despite losing several laps while a misfire was repaired. With the Franchitti brothers retiring after a heavy accident in traffic and the Magnussen/Herta/Labonte/Labonte car being further delayed by a gearbox problem, the Doran trio are now relatively secure in third.

Pole winner Scott Pruett and his Ganassi team-mates Luis Diaz and Ryan Briscoe continue to charge back up the order after a number of problems on Saturday afternoon. They have now reached eighth place and are matching the leaders for pace.

"We've been having a fantastic race, we were just unfortunate to have all those problems early on," said Briscoe. "We've been competitive enough to run at the front."



Collard/Taylor/Angelelli (SunTrust Pontiac-Riley) 623 laps
Wallace/Lammers/Stewart (Howard-Boss Pontiac-Crawford) + 10.6s
Bobbi/Gollin/Theys (Doran Lexus-Doran) + 9 laps
Dixon/Manning/Mears (Ganassi Lexus-Riley) + 12 laps
Leitzinger/Forbes-Robinson/Johnson (Howard-Boss Pontiac-Crawford) + 13 laps
Johansson/McMurray/Wagner (Ganassi Lexus-Riley) + 14 laps
Magnussen/Labonte/Herta/Labonte (Doran Pontiac-Doran) + 21 laps
Pruett/Diaz/Briscoe (Ganassi Lexus-Riley) + 22 laps
Donohue/Law/Luhr/Maassen (Brumos Porsche-Fabcar) + 25 laps
Jonsson/Krohn/Rice/Said/Morales (Krohn TRG Pontiac-Riley) + 31 laps



Henzler/Farnbacher/Price/Ehret (Farnbacher Porsche GT3) + 41 laps

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