Alonso just the third formula one champ to win at Daytona

By William Herrera Philippine Daily Inquirer January 30,2019
Alonso just the third formula one champ to win at Daytona

Alonso and the other drivers from the Konica Minolta Cadillac team, from left, Kamui Kobayashi, of Japan, Renger Van Der Zande, of the Netherlands, and Jordan Taylor celebrate after winning the IMSA 24-hour race at Daytona International Speedway. AP

The first major race of 2019 season is the fabled Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Since 1962, the Rolex 24 at Daytona has drawn competitors the world over, to try and win the gruelling endurance race.

2019 will be the 57th running of the 24 hour race at Daytona International Speedway. The high speed oval, coupled with a twisty infield section, will push the limits of both man and machine.

Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Konica Minolta Dpi Cadillac, under the skillful hands of Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande, Kamui Kobayashi and two time F1 champ Fernando Alonso took top honors in the DPi (Daytona Prototype International), and was the overall winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

This was the second win in three years by Wayne Taylor Racing in the DPi class.

Fernando Alonso now joins Mario Andretti and Phil Hill, as the only former F1 champs to win at Daytona.

For his efforts, Alonso also takes home his very first Rolex Daytona Cosmograph.

After the race, the 2005 and 2006 F1 champion stated: “Just an amazing experience with the team from the test now to the race. A perfect execution of the race. Very different conditions for all the competitors, so I’m really happy for the team.”

Fernando also added, “It’s too bad we didn’t get to race the full distance, but we led the race in night, day, dry and wet, so I think we all deserve this one. You had to survive every lap. It wasn’t a matter of lap times or anything like that. It was a matter of crossing the line, putting the lap together and at the end, it worked.”

The race was red flagged twice due to strong downpours at the hallowed Florida track, and the race was later called off, 1 hour and 57 mintues shy of the required 24 hours.

Before the stoppage, Alonso grabbed the lead and eventual win when Felipe Nasr, driving the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac Dpi-V.R., went wide.

The dangerous conditions brought out the 17th caution flag of the race, and eventually the red flag six minutes later.

Former F1 driver, Juan Pablo Montoya, who was looking for his fourth win in Daytona on board the #6 Acura DPi, suffered an oil pump failure, dropping the team down the order and just finishing eighth overall.

Another former Formula 1 alum, Pastor Maldonado, together with Sebastian Saavedra, Ryan Cullen and Roberto Gonzalez on board the No.18 Dragon Speed Oreca LMP2, took top honors in the LMP2 class (Le Mans Prototype 2) by finishing sixth overall, ahead of Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca LMP2 of Kris Wright, Kyle Masson, Rober Masson and Cameron Cassels.

The GTLM (GT Le Mans) category was won by #25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE drivien by Colton Herta, Augusto Farfus, Connor De Phillippi and Philipp Eng.

While in the GTD (GT Daytona) group, it was the No. 11 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3, driven by Miro Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart, Rik Breukers, and Rolf Ineichen that topped the timesheets.

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