Gremlins hit Scots' 24Hrs bidposted in MSPOR27 | 01 | 2013

    COLOMBIAN JUAN PABLO MONYOYA, the former Formula One grand prix winner, powered his No1 Ganassi Riley-BMW to a nailbiting victory in the Daytona 24 Hours.

    With just six minutes remaining, he was forced to pit for a splash-and dash of fuel, and rejoined in second place behind the Corvette of Max Angelelli.

    But at the end of the next lap, the Italian also had to pit for fuel, handing the lead over to Montoya, who finally cruised to victory by just 21 seconds.

    But there was disappointment for the four leading Scots in the race when they were all hit by mechanical problems.

    Airdrie's Ryan Dalziel and Allan McNish, Dumfries, sharing the Starworks Riley-Ford, were on course for a fast-charging finish.

    But having moved into fourth, with just over two hours remaining, McNish was forced on to the grass when the throttle on the car stuck (see more photos of Scot Allan McNish at Daytona).

    After stopping for repairs, he was forced back into the pits the following lap as the problem continued.

    Scots ready for Daytona

    "That scuppered any hopes we had of winning today," a disappointed McNish, who has finished second at Daytona three times, said.

    “It was a long, frustrating and sometimes cruel race – a typical Daytona 24 Hours in fact!

    “We suffered a couple of punctures and some other issues but were still in the fight.

    "With a little over two hours to run when placed fourth but with a podium definitely within our grasp, our car suffered a sticking accelerator which caused me to go off the track twice, thankfully without hitting anything.

    “With that rectified, I then almost immediately encountered a brake issue which cost us 11-laps making repairs in the pits before Ryan brought it home to the flag.

     “We lacked the outright pace and straight-line speed of the BMW-powered cars throughout, so we were forced to reduce our disadvantage in the way we set-up our Riley-Ford. But the Starworks Motorsport team did a fantastic job.”

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    Multiple IndyCar champ Dario Franchitti, the 39-year-old from Bathgate in the No2 Ganassi car, led at the halfway stage after starting from second.

    Minutes later, his American team-mate Jamie McMurray clattered a wall damaging the car as he was dealing with his pitlane speed limiter.

    The car sat motionless in the garage for six laps as repairs were carried out. A storming drive saw them back up to seventh place, but with 3hr 40mins remaining, the car stopped on track.

    "We lost drive," Franchitti explained. "I came out of the corner and heard a 'ping' from the back of the car and lost all the drive.

    "First thing I did was check I still had gears and I hadn't screwed the gearbox up. But we've no forward drive.

    "It's very disappointing for everyone in the team, especially having fought back to seventh. But this is terminal."

    Franchitti's race though lasted longer than his younger brother Marino's. Debuting the SkyActiv diesel Mazda6 (correct, Mazda6), the car retired within two hours.

    "I guess this race was always a gamble," Franchitti said, "but the reality the car ran longer in the race than it's ever gone before.

    "We're learning from this, and we've gathered a huge amount of information which will help us through the rest of the season."

    England's Oliver Jarvis, partnered by Portuguese Felipe Albuquerque, took victory in the GT class behind the wheel of their Alex Job Audi R8.

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    Jim McGill


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