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Action Express Holds On for Victory in Record-Setting Rolex 24

Filipe Albuquerque, Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi win record-filled Rolex 24 at Daytona…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Filipe Albuquerque held onto claim victory for Action Express Racing and Cadillac in a record-setting Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Albuquerque took his No. 5 Cadillac DPi-V.R to a one-lap margin over teammate Stuart Middleton, following late-race drama for the Mustang Sampling-sponsored machine, which battled overheating issues.

Both the Nos. 5 and 31 Cadillacs made separate trips to the garage for fluids in the final seven hours, with the Whelen entry going three laps down as a result due to its stop while under green flag conditions.

A collision with the No. 7 Team Penske Acura ARX-05 also resulted in a nose change to the No. 31 car, and subsequent penalty.

Middleton and co-drivers Mike Conway, Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr, however, fought back in the closing hours as the sister car slowly deteriorated.

The pair of Action Express entries outlasted challenges from Acura, Nissan, Mazda and the two fellow Cadillac entries, which all hit trouble to varying degrees in the race.

It marked the team’s third Rolex 24 victory and first since 2014, a race also won by co-drivers Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi.

The car completed 808 laps, smashing the previous distance and lap record in the Florida endurance classic, in a race that featured only four full-course cautions.

Colin Braun took the No. 54 CORE autosport Oreca 07 Gibson to a podium finish in third, benefiting from clutch issues for the No. 32 United Autosports Ligier JS P217 Gibson, which lost several laps in the closing hours.

Braun shared driving duties with Romain Dumas, Loic Duval and team owner Jon Bennett, who picked up Trueman award honors.

The No. 32 United Autosports Ligier was fourth, with the No. 78 Jackie Chan DCR JOTA Oreca completing the top five.

Team Penske, which led with both of its debuting Acura ARX-05s, ended up 9th and 10th overall, following contact with the No. 31 Cadillac with eight hours to go and the No. 6 car losing 25 laps with an alternator change.

Fernando Alonso, in his sports car racing debut, finished 38th overall after a flurry of problems for the No. 23 United Autosports Ligier that included a master cylinder change, and brake and throttle issues.

Both Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPis and Mazda Team Joest entries, meanwhile, retired, with gearbox (No. 2) and engine (No. 22) failures for the ESM entries and a fire ending the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P’s race after a troubled run for both entries.

Defending race winners Wayne Taylor Racing, which started on pole, also failed to finish, with the team parking its No. 10 Cadillac DPi for safety reasons following a series of five tire punctures. 

Spirit of Daytona’s debuting Cadillac, meanwhile, dropped out with engine issues in the 9th hour.

RESULTS: Rolex 24 at Daytona

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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