Grand-Am Rolex Series: Rolex 24 at Daytona
Topics: Rolex 24 at Daytona
January 29, 2012
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
HERB BRANHAM: We have our DP and overall runner‑up team, No.8 Motorola Ford Riley, our co‑drivers Ryan Dalziel, Enzo Potolicchio, Alex Popow, Lucas Luhr, and Allan McNish.
Q. Allan, I'm sure this is the obvious question, but if you could talk a little bit about the hard racing with AJ Allmendinger there.
ALLAN MCNISH: Well, my son, I spoke to him just afterwards, and he's six, and I said to him, "Rubbin' is racing," just like Lightning McQueen says. And at the end of the day, it was hard, but everybody wants to win the race, and I think it was probably a good example of how important the race was for AJ and for the team, and as it was, for us at Starworks, as well.
At the time I was a little bit surprised about it, but that's the way it is.
Q. Ryan, talk about your closing stint there. Obviously there was about a five‑second gap. You guys gained some time in the pits, but it was almost‑‑ did you know you were going to‑‑ did you have any hope to catch up to the leader?
RYAN DALZIEL: I'm going to ask your question for you next time (Laughter.)
No, I mean, we thought that we had something for them, and I think we proved for sure the first part of the race that we were the fastest car. But you know, we got some damage and we bumped into some people. I think part of it, we threw away ourselves a little bit. I do want to say, though, that the last two stops we did, where I'd got in the car, and then we also pitted, I think the crew made three seconds on each stop over Shank's guys. They did everything they were able to do. Just one of those things. It was almost like the fairy‑tale ending to a difficult couple of days for us where we qualified on pole. We clearly had the best car for the first half of the race, and it just kind of fell away from us.
It's hard to be overly disappointed based on where Starworks has come from and even where Enzo and Alex have come from. This race last year was kind of a baptism by fire for them, and to see where we've all came from now and to qualify on the pole, I think we led the most laps probably. I haven't seen the stats, but probably had the fastest lap of the race, too. So everything was pointing towards going for victory, but the Shank guys in all honesty did an amazing job. All their drivers kept clean and did exactly what they had to do, made it really tough. It was very difficult to pass anybody unless mistakes were made or traffic was brought in play.
It's almost one of those things that I think the car that would have been in the front in the last hour is the car that would have won, and unfortunately we were second. It was a great day, though.
Q. For Allan or Lucas, you made a lot of GT stuff, you raced cars with Audi. When you're getting into a DP prototype, can you explain the biggest difference? Is it difficult to adapt or are there some similarities to other kind of sports cars?
ALLAN MCNISH: Well, thanks for the question. Lucas will answer. (Laughter.)
LUCAS LUHR: I think, first of all, against modern LMP1 cars, the car is quite a bit simple. For sure it has not the same amount of downforce, steer brakes in the DP cars versus carbon fiber in the LMP1 cars. But a race car is a race car. You get into it, and you want to be as quick as possible in that car that you have for the day. Our car was pretty good.
Also the traffic situation is similar than in other types of racing. Maybe the speed difference between the DPs and the GT cars is not as big as it is in the LMP1 and GT cars. But going around here with over 50 cars keeps you busy, as well.
Q. We're used to seeing in 24‑hour races some strong runs towards the finish. It seemed like a ragged run from about midnight on. How did this event compare to some of the other tough 24‑hour battles you've had?
ALLAN MCNISH: From my point of view, I have to say I really enjoyed it. It's funny, Mike Rockenfeller said that he really enjoys this race, and I did get into it. You know, the cars are very different, as Lucas says, and certainly very different to the Audi R18. But in terms of the racing, it was harsh‑‑ not harsh, it was hard, it was cut and thrust, and it was the way the racing should be. I have to say I enjoyed that.
And the fact that it came right down to five seconds, the difference between first and second at the end, is just a good example of it. But I think we all knew that it was going to be that way because when you looked at it, there was yellows were always going to pull back leads that you built up and vice‑versa. So the important thing was to be in there and sort of scrapping all the time. But being at the front, one, two or three, when the last hours came.
Q. Just so I don't misunderstand, so it's your contention that if your car was not damaged, you would have been able to overtake the 60 in the last stint?
RYAN DALZIEL: I don't think we would have lost the lead at that point in all honesty. You know, I'm not going to take anything away from what the guys did. I already said that. I don't want to get in a war of words between us and them. They did an amazing job, the two best cars all day was the 60 and the 8. I think that either one deserved to win. We know how much it cost us.
And there's probably the same things that happened to them throughout the race. That's racing. We don't know what problems they could have had. They could have had anything. That's not what lost us the race. Today was not our day, today was their day.
HERB BRANHAM: Congratulations, guys. Well done.
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