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Lally’s Late Pass Seals GT Win At 24

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, January 29 2012

The Rolex 24-winning Porsche 911 of Magnus Racing. (Photos courtesy of the Rolex GRAND-AM Sports Car Racing Series)

By Jonathan Ingram | Senior Writer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The results in the 45-car GT race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona mirrored the outcome among the Daytona Prototypes. A fender-banging pass in the late going sealed a victory fought over during the entire race among several front-running teams.

Driving for Magnus Racing, Andy Lally pushed his Porche 911 GT3 Cup past the Brumos Porsche of Leh Keen to culiminate a race-long pursuit of the lead with a little less than two hours remaining. “I think I had a little bit fresher tires than he did,” said Lally, “so I was able to get a little better run out of the bus stop there. The draft here is so huge that I was able to come up alongside.”

The Magnus car lost the lead due to a one-minute penalty for working on the undertray during re-fueling. Coming with 56 laps remaining for the GT racers, Lally’s comeback pass proved to be the last of 61 lead changes among 10 different cars. It was typical of a race where the front-runners constantly pushed the pace and sought the lead.

The quality of the teams, the depth of the field and the 13 safety car periods all contributed to a revolving door at the top. The Porsches of Magnus, Brumos and TRG dominated the procedings with a look-in by the Camaros of Stevenson Motorsports and Autohaus.

The five relatively fragile new Ferrari 458 Grand-Am entries adapted from GT3 cars could not keep pace

The No. 59 Brumos Porsche finished second in the Rolex 24.

with the front runners. The No. 63 Risi Competizione did well to finish fifth, one lap behind the winners due to consistency. Two new Audi R8 Grand-Am cars suffered from the loss of ABS and traction control, which led to not only handling problems but clutch issues as well.

The winning pass damaged the front splitter of the Brumos entry, which had led on 18 different occasions, and began a series of problems for the team. Among the problems were the loss of power steering and an out-of-sequence pit stop that left the team 15 minutes short on fuel.

“We were 22 hours fighting for the lead and then at the end we were lucky to finish on the podium,” said Marc Lieb, who drove without power steering in the closing hour.

The No. 67 entry of TRG also suffered splitter damage, which took two attempts to replace it, keeping the team to second. “I tried everything at the end to catch Richard Lietz (after the splitter change),” said Wolf Henzler, who trailed by 10 seconds at the checkers. “But I couldn’t close the gap. They were just too good and the race was just too short.”

– Jonathan Ingram can be reached at jingram@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, January 29 2012
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