DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Fernando Alonso deftly maneuvered by among the most harmful driving situations of his profession to seize one other victory in a bucket-list occasion.
Alonso drove a Cadillac DPi to the entrance of the sector in every of his three stints within the Rolex 24 at Daytona, together with the ultimate cross for the lead in a heavy rain, on a slick observe, with virtually no visibility. His last cross was of Felipe Nasr, who missed a flip and drove by a deep patch of water as Alonso stayed on target.
The race was red-flagged minutes after Alonso gave the result in him and his teammates at Wayne Taylor Racing (Jordan Taylor, Kamui Kobayashi of Japan and Renger Van Der Zande of the Netherlands). IMSA referred to as the race about two hours later.
The determination got here 10 minutes earlier than the scheduled conclusion; it was the primary time rain prevented the Rolex from going the complete 24 hours. It was additionally the primary time the occasion was stopped twice for crimson flags for rain.
Alonso was sitting beneath a blanket on the pit stand when the race was referred to as.
“It’s too bad we didn’t get to race the full distance, but we led the race in night, day, dry, wet, so I think we all kind of deserve this one,” he stated.
Alonso joined Phil Hill (1964) and Mario Andretti (1972) as Formula One champions who additionally received the 24-hour Daytona race. Alonso retired from that sequence in November.
He now has received the Rolex, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Monaco Grand Prix. The subsequent huge occasion on his schedule is the Indianapolis 500 in May, the victory he wants to finish auto racing’s unofficial model of the Triple Crown.
Alex Zanardi’s return to a North American race for the primary time since his legs have been severed in a 2001 crash was hampered by mechanical issues, together with an early electrical problem with the BMW-designed steering wheel that allowed him to race with out his prosthetic legs.
When Zanardi, 52, received within the automobile for his first driving stint Saturday the steering wheel that had been exhaustively examined instantly wouldn’t make reference to the automobile. Neither did the backup.
Zanardi, of Italy, almost received out of the automobile earlier than he had even left pit lane, however one last flip of the switches at the least received the wheel to attach. The issues stretched into the following driver change and put the Bobby Rahal-owned group in a gap that took it out of rivalry for the GT Le Mans victory. The class win went to the second Rahal automobile, which strengthened Zanardi’s perception that he had a group able to profitable the race.
“In the end of the day, I came here because I thought it was technically possible to do what we did together,” Zanardi stated Sunday, “and had I not believed it attainable, I don’t assume I might have come.
“But yeah, if somebody can obtain some sort of inspiration from what I do, it fills my coronary heart with satisfaction. I’m simply a very curious man who has a lot of risk. You say ‘Why do you do this?’ Why shouldn’t I? I’m having a lot of enjoyable doing what I’m doing.”
Zanardi drove thrice totaling 6 hours 17 minutes; his last stint was disrupted by heavy rain at dawn.
“He shows very clearly that life isn’t over and you can still go out and live and do whatever it is you want,” Rahal stated.
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