Race win­ner takes ex-alex Martin Fo­cus

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - By Matt James Pho­tos: Jakob Ebrey

A col­li­sion be­tween the two lead­ing Cadil­lacs de­cided the re­sult of the Day­tona 24 Hours last week­end as the IMSA Sportscar Championship’s new DPI era be­gan.

In the end it was the Wayne Tay­lor Rac­ing Cadil­lac of broth­ers Ricky and Jor­dan Tay­lor, Max An­gelelli and Jeff Gor­don that tri­umphed by just over half a se­cond from the Ac­tion Ex­press Rac­ing crew of Filipe Al­bu­querque, Chris­tian Fit­ti­paldi and Joao Bar­bosa.

The clash came with seven min­utes re­main­ing when Ricky Tay­lor at­tempted a move on leader Al­bu­querque into Turn 1. Al­bu­querque closed the door but Tay­lor didn’t back out, re­sult­ing in the Ac­tion Ex­press car spin­ning.

“I don’t think I lost the race, I don’t race like this,” said a dis­grun­tled Al­bu­querque. “He hit me up the back, so I spun and he didn’t even wait for me, he just took off.

“If the of­fi­cials don’t agree that it’s a penalty, then OK. He could have waited for me, for the fight but it didn’t hap­pen.

“I’m happy with what I did. I came back still, but not enough. That’s it.”

Bri­tish GT racer Seb Mor­ris starred on his Day­tona de­but – thanks to win­ning the Sunoco Whe­len Chal­lenge – twice lead­ing the race in his Ac­tion Ex­press ma­chine. But a col­li­sion with a back­marker while Eric Cur­ran was be­hind the wheel and later gear­box is­sues left Mor­ris 14th over­all at the fin­ish.

In the GT Le Mans class, it was the Ford GT of Dirk Muller, Joey Hand and Se­bastien Bour­dais that tri­umphed af­ter re­sist­ing pres­sure from the Porsche 911 RSR of Patrick Pilet, Fred­eric Makowiecki and Dirk Werner late in the con­test.

Sunoco 200 Chal­lenge win­ner Max Bladon fin­ished 11th in a Rac­ers Edge Mo­tor­sport As­ton Martin in the four-hour IMSA Sportscar Chal­lenge sup­port race on the Fri­day be­fore the 24 Hours.

Late dra­mas for Bladon’s team-mates Ramin Ab­dolva­habi and Chris Bea­u­fait pre­vented the squad from fin­ish­ing any higher up the or­der.

Race win­ner Stephen Jelley will re­turn to the Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Championship this sea­son driv­ing a Team Parker Rac­ing Ford Fo­cus ST af­ter a seven-year sab­bat­i­cal.

The Le­ices­ter driver con­tested two sea­sons of the BTCC in a WSR BMW 320si in 2008 and 2009, and took two vic­to­ries, both at Rock­ing­ham.

Since then, Jelley has com­peted in GTS and the Porsche Car­rera Cup GB. Jelley drove for Stu­art Parker’s team in the Porsche con­test last year and was fifth in the stand­ings.

He will re­turn to the tin-top top flight in the car pre­vi­ously used by Alex Martin.

Jelley said: “It was al­ways my aim to come back to the BTCC – I didn’t want to leave, but the fi­nances just weren’t there.

“Team Parker Rac­ing can have a long fu­ture in this cat­e­gory and I want a long fu­ture here too, so we are look­ing to build to­gether. I haven’t raced a front-wheel-drive car be­fore so there will be a big test pro­gramme ahead of the sea­son to get me up to speed.

“As for my aims, I will wait to see where we are af­ter the open­ing ses­sions be­fore we can make a re­al­is­tic as­sess­ment. We are just go­ing to fo­cus on our own per­for­mance first and fore­most.”

Team boss Stu­art Parker said: “We are thrilled to have Stephen with us – he has driven for the team for four sea­sons in the Porsche Car­rera Cup in his ca­reer and he is part of the fix­tures and fit­tings at the squad.

“We have had two great years with Alex, who was learn­ing all the time. Stephen is a proven race win­ner at this level and, al­though he will be get­ting to grips with front-wheel-drive for the first time, he can help us move for­ward.

“If we can be chal­leng­ing in­side the top 10, and then who knows what can hap­pen with the re­v­erse-grid draw.”

Mor­ris starred at Day­tona WTR crew won af­ter late col­li­sion

Pho­tos: LAT

Jelley was fifth in Car­rera Cup GB in ’16

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