Alonso adds Rolex 24 crown to his record
Fernando Alonso had three other teammates driving the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac, but make no mistake about it - it was his driving in the rain, both at night and during the day that won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and now adds that crown to his 24 Hours of LeMans title.
For the record, Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande and Kamui Kobayashi will also go into the record books as winners in a race that ended under the red with no cars on the track.
The Spaniard, driving the No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R for Wayne Taylor Racing, put pressure on Nasr early in the stint but had dropped back to around five seconds behind the Whelen Engineering Racing driver when Nasr slid wide.
Nasr was able to keep the car out of the tire barrier and continue in second place overall, before the race was halted for the second time by a red flag due to treacherous track conditions.
The win marked WTR’s second Rolex 24 victory in the last three years and Cadillac’s third consecutive in the Florida endurance classic and a clean sweep in the DPi era.
Toyota LMP1 factory drivers Alonso and Kobayashi, along with Dutchman van der Zande, meanwhile, picked up their maiden Daytona wins.
The No. 31 Action Express Racing-run Cadillac DPi of Nasr and co-drivers Pipo Derani and Eric Curran finished second, despite Nasr’s eventual race-deciding incident.
Acura Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor and Alexander Rossi was third, ahead of the No. 54 CORE autosport Nissan DPi, which fought back from a sensor issue in the 11th hour and late-race accident to come home fourth, albeit it four laps down.
The No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi completed the top five, despite a number of spins in the wet.
A yellow flag had been displayed just before the red for the LMP2 class-leading No. 18 DragonSpeed Oreca 07 Gibson which had nosed into the tire wall in the infield section.
Due to the red flag that followed, Saavedra was listed as the class leader despite incurring front-end damage because he held a four-lap advantage over second place in class when he wrecked.
A closely-fought GT Le Mans contest was won by the #25 BMW M8 GTE of Connor De Phillippi, Philipp Eng, Colton Herta and last-minute addition Augusto Farfus.
Six of the nine cars in class were still on the lead lap when the two leaders collided during a chaotic restart at Turn 1, as Frederic Makowiecki's Porsche rear-ended Joey Hand's Ford, effectively ruling both out of the fight.
That handed the advantage to the Risi Competizione Ferrari, but James Calado was passed by Farfus shortly before the red flags came out for a second time, relegating Calado and team-mates Alessandro Pier Guidi, Miguel Molina and Davide Rigon to second.
Grasser Racing defended its 2018 GT Daytona class triumph as Rolf Ineichen, Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart and Rik Breukers emerged from a frantic race-long battle on top in the #11 Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
The #29 Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS survived multiple spins in the wet conditions late on to take second, while the final place on the podium went to the all-American-crewed #12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.
Fernando Alonso, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, winner:
"I am very proud if the job we achieve today. It was not a one day job it was a one month job. Receiving the documents about how the car works and how the team works. We had a quick lesson at the Roar and had a good test. We were racing in cooler temperatures that we run so far. We had a plan to execute the race and followed it step-by-step. We made some changes to conditions, but there was a plan for that too. I've won races around the world, to add one here in America is great. I am proud of the team. I want to thank Wayne Taylor Racing, Konica Minolta and Cadillac."
Jordan Taylor, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, winner:
"All four drivers did great in their own right. We all drove the Cadillac to the lead. We had the right game plan, no car damage and no one went off of the track. That is how you win these races. The team had a great strategy and did a great job to adjust things when the rain came. We actually had a low downforce setup that we kept on the car during the rain. That helped us to pass some cars in the rain."
Renger Van Der Zande, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, winner:
"The win is a milestone for me. I've won at Nurburgring and Spa, this is an overall victory. Also racing with an iconic team and teammates. I am very proud. I came from having no drive in 2012 to winning the Rolex 24 in 2019.
Kamui Kobayashi, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, winner:
"Thank you to Wayne and the team and to Cadillac and Konica Minolta. The race was very difficult with the rain and the red flags. We also spent a lot of time behind the safety car. The team did a great job and the Cadillac ran great all race."
Wayne Taylor, team owner, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, winner:
"A year ago, when I met Fernando and we chatted, there was a connection. I thought that in 2019 we needed the best of the best drivers. There are drivers that pop in and out of endurance racing, IndyCar and F1 drivers. Fernando won at Le Mans and we also looked at Kamui. I phoned Kamui at 3 a.m. in the morning. I put the phone down and he called me back. So, within a week we had a deal to run the 24. Renger did a great job helping us win at Petit Le Mans last year. I was a little nervous with Jordan, but he did a great job. Fernando's first split on the first turn was as fast as everyone else in the Roar so I knew we had a strong team. He was great with everyone, the fans, our sponsor Konica Minolta, and the team."
Mark Reuss, President, General Motors Company:
"What a performance by Wayne Taylor Racing to win the 2019 Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona. Congratulations to Jordan, Renger, Fernando, and Kamui on their performance behind the wheel of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R as they battled intense competition and weather. Wayne and the engineers called an excellent race and the crew executed with consistency. The Cadillac teams and our race engineers and Propulsion engineers collaborated to give us a great start to the 2019 IMSA Prototype season." Reuss added, "I am very happy for Wayne Taylor and the team for their continued success at Daytona."
Steve Carlisle, Senior Vice President and President, Cadillac:
"Wow, a Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona hat trick! Wayne Taylor and his Konica Minolta team had the complete package on the track and on pit lane to put together a complete day of racing in the Cadillac DPi-V.R. Drivers Jordan, Renger, Fernando, and Kamui set the pace and never really put a wheel wrong all race in treacherous conditions. To win this event three times is a testament to the speed and reliability of Cadillac V-Performance power. Hats off to our development team internally at Cadillac, to Wayne, as well as our GM Propulsion engine team."
Results - 593 laps
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