Wayne Taylor Racing triumph amid controversy

Speedcafe.com

Monday 30th January, 2017 - 9:50am

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The Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac on its way to victory at Daytona

A controversial pass in the final hour saw Wayne Taylor Racing win a weather-affected Daytona 24 Hours.

The Cadillac prototype crewed by brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor alongside Max Angelelli and former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon were in contention throughout the twice around the clock endurance.

In a race punctuated by several caution periods due to lengthy spells of heavy rain, the battle for victory went down to the final hour.

Ricky Taylor closed on race leader Filipe Albuquerque in the pole-sitting Cadillac prototype before launching a move for the lead with four laps remaining.

Albuquerque held his line which resulted in contact pushing the former into a spin while handing Taylor the lead.

Once in front, Taylor went on to take the chequered flag from the Albuquerque, Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi entry by 0.6s.

The Multimatic/Riley prototype of Marc Goosens/Renger van der Zande and Rene Rast secured the final spot on the podium.

The trio had pushed the Cadillacs hard earlier in the race but fell a lap adrift when conditions dried.

Pipo Derani, Scott Speed and Ryan Dalziel guided the Extreme Speed Motorsport Nissan to fourth albeit two laps down.

The #66 Ford GT took out the GTLM class

The sister car featuring New Zealander Brendon Hartley, Bruno Senna, Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek challenged in the first half of the race before their hopes were dashed by an incident in 10th hour.

Hartley was hit by a GTD Porsche that saw him brush the wall and damage his steering.

The quartet continued to finish 17th a full 23 laps behind the leader.

The GTLM class battle also provided a grandstand finish between Ford and Porsche.

The #911 Porsche 911 RSR of Patrick Pilet, Frederic Makowiecki and Dirk Werner surged through the field once the race restarted after the 21st and final Safety Car.

Pilet escaped a penalty for causing contact while passing the second placed Risi Competition Ferrari 488 before setting his sights on Dirk Muller in the leading Ford.

The Frenchman piled the pressure on the #66 Ford GT co-driven by Sebastien Bourdais and Joey Hand, but Muller held on to take the class win.

Pilet was just 2.9s shy while the Risi Competizione Ferrari driven by James Calado, Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander finished third 0.091s further back.

Australian Ryan Briscoe witnessed his GTLM hopes disappear when he lost control of the #67 Ford GT he shared with Kiwi Scott Dixon and Richard Westbrook prior to the halfway mark.

Briscoe spun at the Bus Stop chicane before backing into the wall.

The car emerged from the pits an hour later following repairs and was classified in 27th position overall.

Unfancied Alegra Motorsports recorded a shock win in the GTD class following a strong final stint from factory Porsche driver Michael Christensen.

The Shane van Gisbergen piloted WeatherTech Racing Mercedes retired after 14 hours

The car also crewed by Daniel Morad, Jesse Lazare and father-son duo Carlos and Michael de Quesada finished 0.2s ahead of the Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS driven by Christopher Mies, Jules Gounon, Connor De Phillippi and Jeffrey Schmidt.

Third in class belonged to the Mercedes AMG GT3 of Jeroen Bleekemolen, Ben Keating, Mario Farnbacher and Adam Christodoulou.

Reigning Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen suffered heartbreak for a second year in a row at Daytona when his WeatherTech Racing Mercedes AMG retired after 14 hours.

The entry led its class after six hours but a crash at Turn 2 while in the hands of Cooper MacNeil damaged the car beyond repair.

The third Mercedes driven by Maro Engel, Tristan Vautier, Boris Said and Australian duo Kenny Habul and Paul Morris retired after 21 hours.

CLICK HERE for the full Daytona 24 Hours results.