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[source: Alex Job Racing]
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - The No. 24 WeatherTech Audi R8 continues to run at the front in GT leader board after 18 hours of the 51st GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Rolex 24 at Daytona. In fact, the Alex Job Racing prepared Audi led the race during part of the overnight hours. The race witnessed a two long caution period as fog blanketed the Daytona Beach area.
Edoardo Mortara put in a triple stint, which helped him grab the overall GT lead by the time he got out on lap 385.
“It was difficult,” Mortara said. “On my last one, we had a good restart. We were in front of everyone. We were the overall [GT] leader. I had a really good feeling about the tires. I was ready to make a gap [between me and the other GT cars]. Then, a gentleman driver in the DP, made a bad move on me. He was really slow in the corners. He hit me and spun me. So, I had to go to the back of the field and not take any risks returning to the track. I tried to overtake everyone. But, it was nightmare.”
“Incredibly, we are still in it. We could have lost a lot more time. Thank God everything is working perfectly. The car has no damage. This is a small miracle. Let’s hope we can continue like this because I think we have a strong car.”
Dion von Moltke (Coral Gables, Fla.) took over on lap 385. He spent most of his first stint in the top three. In fact, at one point, he briefly had the GT lead before he came to pit lane on caution lap 421 for a fuel and tires. When he returned to the track, he was fifth – a position he would hold for the next 26 laps before his stint was over.
“On the one restart, the 63 car dove in there and almost hit us,” von Moltke said. “That shuffled us back. We went from second to sixth position. The important thing now is to keep it clean – keep the whole car together. I made a calculated decision to keep it clean. It screwed us for sure on track time. Once we got in clean air, this Audi R8 WeatherTech car was working well. It felt good. Now, we’ve got to see how it reacts to the weather changes the next few hours.”
Von Moltke got out of the No. 24 Audi R8 on lap 447 and handed the machine over to teammate Felipe Albuquerque, of Portugal, who inherited fifth place when he got in the car. From the moment he got in, he spent nearly two hours driving leisurely around the World Center of Racing. They ran 31 laps under caution due to fog. The race finally went green on lap 375.
SPEED Channel will carry live coverage of the Rolex 24 at Daytona on TV and the Internet. Live TV coverage is from 3 to 11 p.m. Jan. 26. During the overnight hours from 11 p.m. to 9 a.m. Jan. 26/27, fans can watch the race on the Internet atSPEEDTV.com. Live TV coverage resumes at 9 a.m. through the race finish Jan. 27.
The GRAND-AM GT category suits the Audi R8 GRAND-AM. The R8 features a 90º V10 engine longitudinally mounted with a displacement of 5.204 liter / 317.6 cu. in. Framing the R8 are carbon fiber and aluminum body panels with an aluminum space frame. Suspension consists of front and rear double wishbones, coil springs over hydraulic dampers with anti-roll bars. Steering is rack-and-pinion, power assisted. Stopping the R8 are ventilated steel brake discs. The gearbox is a six-speed sequential driving the rear wheels. The R8 weighs in at 1250 kilo / 2775.8 lbs.