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Daytona 24 Hours

The 2017’s 24 Hours of Day­to­na will always be re­mem­be­red for the mo­ment when Ricky Tay­lor took out Fi­li­pe Al­bu­quer­que from the track, and from the vic­tory. Howe­ver, it would be un­fair if the race were only re­mem­be­red for this incident.

First of all, it marks the be­gin­ning of a new era, with chan­ges in re­gu­la­ti­ons that aim to bring the Dpi clo­ser to the LMP2. This chan­ge, by it­self, led to the emer­gen­ce of a who­le new ge­ne­ra­ti­on of pro­toty­pes whe­re the Ca­dil­lac Dpi V.R sto­od out. Although with rain, the Mul­ti­ma­tic /​Ri­ley has shown that this wasn´t the end of the story by New Yor­ker company.

As we all know, the­se pro­toty­pes are young and lack de­ve­lop­ment; So the su­pe­ri­o­rity of Ca­dil­lac does not mean that in the fu­tu­re things will stay that way. It shows only that it star­ted bet­ter in the first race (with about 2 se­conds dif­fe­ren­ce betwe­en the best ti­mes per­for­med with dry track).

New brands, Ac­cu­ra, Le­xus and Mer­ce­des, de­ci­ded to be pre­sent in the com­pe­ti­ti­on in the GTD class, and they did it with sig­ni­fi­cant performances.

#93,Michael Shank Racing, Acura NSX, GTD, Andy Lally, Katherine Legge, Mark Wilkins, Graham Rahal ©2017, Richard Dole LAT Photo USA
#93,Michael Shank Ra­cing, Acu­ra NSX, GTD, Andy Lally, Kathe­ri­ne Leg­ge, Mark Wil­kins, Graham Rahal ©2017, Ri­chard Dole LAT Pho­to USA

The Ac­cu­ra, by the hand of Mi­cha­el Shank (Mi­cha­el Shank Ra­cing), was the one that sur­pri­sed us the most. As­su­ming the fight for the com­mand of the race af­ter eight hours of ra­cing, it even had the two cars in the top th­ree when rain came. Ac­cu­ra re­mai­ned in the fight un­til the last hour of the race when the nº93 of Lally, Leg­ge, Wil­kins and Rahal, suf­fe­red an ac­ci­dent and gave up. It is worth no­ting the im­por­tan­ce of this ac­ci­dent in the end of the race, be­cau­se it is due to the si­tu­a­ti­on of FCY from it that the Ca­dil­lac Dpi V.R No. 10 of Wai­ne Tay­lor Ra­cing, cat­ch up with the Ca­dil­lac Dpi V.R No. 5 of Ac­ti­on Express.

Another as­pect to high­light was the fight for the top four in the GTLM class, with an epic fi­nish in whi­ch the top four, Ford GT, Pors­che 911, Fer­ra­ri 488 and Cor­vet­te C7.R, fi­nished se­pa­ra­ted by less than 5 seconds.

#68, Chip Ganassi Racing, Ford GT, GTLM, Billy Johnson, Stefan Mucke, Olivier Pla ©2017, Richard Dole LAT Photo USA 1/29/2017 12:53:58 PM
#68, Chip Ga­nas­si Ra­cing, Ford GT, GTLM, Billy John­son, Ste­fan Muc­ke, Oli­vi­er Pla ©2017, Ri­chard Dole LAT Pho­to USA
1÷29÷2017 12:53:58 PM

An IMSA com­men­ta­tor high­ligh­ted the rain as one of the most in­flu­en­ti­al fac­tors in the race, yet not a de­ci­si­ve one. The we­ather con­di­ti­ons played an im­por­tant role, ma­king it cle­ar that in a race si­tu­a­ti­on with rain everything is more ba­lan­ced, lo­sing the Ca­dil­lac all the ad­van­ta­ge they have when the track is dry.

The rain also gave rise to what could have been the big stra­te­gic mis­ta­ke of the race when six hours la­ter, Way­ne Taylor’s team op­ted, con­trary to their op­po­nents, to keep ti­res dry. This de­ci­si­on for­ced the Ca­dil­lac Dpi V.R No. 10 to stop a few laps la­ter, even lo­sing a lap to the top two.

#10, Cadillac DPi V.R, Wayne Taylor Racing, Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor, Max Angelelli, Jeff Gordon ©2017, Barry Cantrell LAT Photo USA
#10, Ca­dil­lac DPi V.R, Way­ne Tay­lor Ra­cing, Ricky Tay­lor, Jor­dan Tay­lor, Max An­ge­lel­li, Jeff Gor­don ©2017, Bar­ry Can­trell LAT Pho­to USA

Let’s talk about the Al­bu­quer­que vs. Taylor’s in its two as­pects : 1º The hit of Ricky Taylor’s car in Fi­li­pe Albuquerque’s; 2º The de­ci­si­on of the race direction.

To Ricky Taylor’s po­si­ti­on that the res­pon­si­bi­lity of the in­ci­dent should be sha­red with Fi­li­pe Al­bu­quer­que, we coun­ter what the re­gu­la­ti­on says when sta­ting that the dri­ver who fol­lows in the front has pri­o­rity in the choi­ce of tra­jec­tory. Howe­ver as João Bar­bo­sa com­men­ted, the­se are si­tu­a­ti­ons that hap­pen of­ten in race. Ac­cor­ding to João it would be good if the pi­lot who gave rise to the in­ci­dent wai­ted for the op­po­nent. Howe­ver we all know that re­a­lity is not so and that beyond the spor­ting ethic the­re are other in­te­rests involved.

On the other hand, we have the de­ci­si­on of the race di­rec­ti­on . The di­rec­tor of the event has ac­cess to data that ama­teurs, jour­na­lists or mem­bers of a team do not have. What I find not so cle­ar in this pro­cess was the spe­ed of de­ci­si­on. As far as I know the de­ci­si­on does not have to be ta­ken at the mo­ment, the di­rec­ti­on of the race would have time to analy­ze and pon­der the choi­ce, so why set­tle in such a short time?

About this sub­jet, Ch­ris­ti­an Fit­ti­pal­di said in the IMSA interview:

Beau in the bri­e­fing was very cle­ar about if you ge­ne­ra­te a pro­blem or if you ge­ne­ra­te con­tact, you will pro­ba­bly be pe­na­li­zed for it”.

We as­ked to the Por­tu­gue­se ex­pert and jour­na­list Ri­car­do Gri­lo to give us his opi­ni­on about this subject:

Ricky Tai­lor is 27 ye­ars old, he was cer­tainly very ex­ci­ted with the fight for the triumph and tri­ed the im­pos­si­ble by put­ting the car in the small ope­ning that Fi­li­pe Al­bu­quer­que left, even though he knew that he was going to give a hit (to the adversary’s car). But as Tai­lor did also a lot of ra­ces he should know that in case of con­tact in a cur­ve like that, who is out­si­de will lose the ba­lan­ce, es­pe­ci­ally when the hit is gi­ven next to the rear whe­el of the op­po­nent Cadillac.

On the other hand, even with facts that we may not have, the di­rec­ti­on of the race sur­pri­sed me by the quick res­pon­se saying that the­re would be no pe­nalty, be­cau­se ac­cor­ding to Ch­ris­ti­an Fit­ti­pal­di, in the bri­e­fing with the race di­rec­tor, he had war­ned the dri­vers that they should be ca­re­ful with the hits, as the­se would be worth a pro­ba­ble pe­nalty – as has so­me­ti­mes hap­pe­ned in re­cent ye­ars to João Bar­bo­sa, even by hits much more in­con­se­quent than this. De­ci­ding like they did , they in­flu­en­ced the out­co­me of the race, and I am not sure if they have been to­tally fair. ”

CAPTION: 26-29 January, 2017, Daytona Beach, Florida USA 5, Cadillac DPi, P, Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi, Filipe Albuquerque ©2017, Barry Cantrell LAT Photo USA 1/28/2017 2:40:04 PM
CAPTION: 26 – 29 Ja­nu­ary, 2017, Day­to­na Be­a­ch, Flo­ri­da USA 5, Ca­dil­lac DPi, P, Joao Bar­bo­sa, Ch­ris­ti­an Fit­ti­pal­di, Fi­li­pe Al­bu­quer­que ©2017, Bar­ry Can­trell LAT Pho­to USA
1÷28÷2017 2:40:04 PM

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