Pruett Leads Rolex 24 At Daytona After Six Hours
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- In search of his second overall victory and record seventh class triumph in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Scott Pruett led through the first quarter of the 45th Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Co-driving the No. 01 TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley with Juan Pablo Montoya and Salvador Duran, Pruett led 1996 IRL IndyCar Series champion Scott Sharp in the No. 58 Red Bull Brumos Racing Porsche Riley by 23.751 seconds. Pruett and Sharp--who is co-driving with Rolex Series regulars David Donohue and Darren Law and 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, were the only cars on the lead lap.
One lap down after six hours was Patrick Carpentier in the No. 11 CITGO/SAMAX Pontiac Riley. Carpentier's co-drivers are Ryan Dalziel, Milka Duno and Darren Manning. Running fourth and also a lap down was Ryan Hunter-Reay in the No. 91 Lowe's Riley-Matthews Motorsports Pontiac Riley he is sharing with 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, as well as Marc Goossens and Jim Matthews. Joao Barbosa completed the top five in the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley he is co-driving with five-time Rolex 24 winner Hurley Haywood, Roberto Moreno and JC France.
Eric Lux led the GT class in the No. 74 Rembrandt Charms/Tafel Racing Porsche GT3. Lux is co-driving with Wolf Henzler, Dominik Farnbacher and Jim Tafel. Lux was 30.308 seconds ahead of Jörg Hardt in the No. 85 Farnbacher Loles Porsche GT3, and like the Daytona Prototype class, the top-two GT machines were the only ones on the lead lap. Hardt is co-driving with Dirk Werner, Leh Keen and Pierre Ehret.
Andrew Davis was third--one lap behind the GT leaders--in the No. 72 Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 he is sharing with Robin Liddell, Nathan Swartzbaugh and Dirk Muller. Dave Lacey was fourth in the GT class, two laps off the GT leaders, in the No. 17 Doncaster Racing Porsche GT3 he is sharing with Greg Wilkins, Johnny Mowlem, Tom Papadopoulos and Lance Arnold. Steve Johnson rounded out the class top five in the No. 81 Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 he is co-driving with Patrick Huisman, Richard Lietz and Richard Westbrook.
Some expected front-runners have had their share of difficulties in the first six hours. Polesitter Alex Gurney led the very early stages of the race in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley, but collected Michael Auriemma in the No. 42 Team Sahlen Porsche GT3 in NASCAR Turn 4 on Lap 6 when the hood flew up and blocked Auriemma's view. That was the first in a myriad of issues for the No. 99 team, which was running last in the Daytona Prototype class, 51 laps behind the leader, at the end of six hours.
The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli, Jan Magnussen and Jeff Gordon was one of a handful of Daytona Prototypes to visit the garage area to repair mechanical issues during the first six hours. Angelelli was 11th, three laps out of the lead at six hours.
Other notables to fall into an early hole included the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford of Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Long and Romain Dumas (15th after six hours, seven laps behind the leaders), the No. 39 Crown Royal Special Reserve/Cheever Racing Porsche Crawford of Christian Fittipaldi, Sascha Maassen, Emmanuel Collard and Eddie Cheever Jr. (19th place, nine laps behind), the No. 60 Fresh From Florida/Michael Shank Racing Lexus Riley of Sam Hornish Jr., Helio Castroneves, Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Mark Patterson (28th overall, 17 laps behind), the No. 20 Jackson Hewitt/Subway Pontiac Crawford of Tony Stewart, Andy Wallace and Butch Leitzinger (33rd overall, 18 laps behind), and the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus Riley of Paul Tracy, A.J. Allmendinger, Ian James and Henry Zogaib (50th overall, 32 laps behind).