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Allen Takes Proton to Maiden LMP2 Win in Photo Finish

Proton Competition scores maiden Rolex 24 LMP2 win in category debut…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

James Allen has given Proton Competition its maiden LMP2 class victory following a photo finish with Ben Hanley in the 61st annual Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The Australian driver used the slipstream of the No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR Oreca 07 Gibson entering the tri-oval on the final lap to move up alongside Hanley and edge out the Englishman by 0.016 seconds at the line, marking one of the closest finishes in the race’s history.

Allen shared top class honors with Fred Poordad, Francesco Pizzi and Porsche factory driver Gianmaria Bruni.

It came in the German squad’s category debut and in a race that also saw the Proton-operated WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo pick up GTD Pro class honors.

Hanley looked set to give the Algarve Pro Racing-run CrowdStrike team a class win on debut after fending off a hard-charging Job van Uitert, who spun his No. 35 TDS Racing Oreca while battling with Hanley for the lead with 20 minutes to go.

The Dutchman held the class lead on the second-to-last restart but ended up finishing fourth in class.

AF Corse’s No. 88 Oreca completed the LMP2 podium with its Oreca driven by Nicklas Nielsen, Mathieu Vaxviere, Francois Perrodo and Julien Canal.

The No. 8 Tower Motorsport entry, featuring NTT IndyCar Series stars Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin, came home fifth in class after a water bottle leak led to an ECU shortage on the opening lap for John Farano.

The car came from an initial 11-lap deficit to finish only two laps behind the class-winning Oreca.

Early race pace-setters PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ hopes for victory was slashed when Nico Lapierre spun and was unable to re-fire the No. 52 Oreca with 90 minutes to go after being in the top-four battle at the time. Lapierre finished seventh.

It came following a late-race comeback for the Bobby Oergel-led squad due to an incident in the 14th hour by Paul-Loup Chatin and penalty two hours later for failure to adhere to the minimum pit stop time that put the car nearly three laps behind.

Several LMP2 entries retired after accidents, including the No. 11 TDS car of Steven Thomas in the seventh hour and a heavy shunt by Anders Fjordbach in the No. 20 High Class Racing Oreca with less than four hours to go.

Engine failure, meanwhile, ended Era Motorsport’s race just after dawn.

AWA Takes Commanding LMP3 Win

LMP3 class honors went to the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 Nissan of Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill, which finished 15th overall as the lone class entrant to not face any issues.

The Canadian entry finished 12 laps clear of its nearest competition.

It came after gear selection issues for the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier JS P320 Nissan, which had enjoyed a controlling class lead until hitting trouble with five hours to go.

The pole-sitting entry, driven by Joao Barbosa, Lance Willsey, Nico Pino and last-minute addition Nolan Siegel, rebounded to finish second.

Performance Tech Motorsports’ John DeAngelis, Christopher Allen, Connor Bloum and Cameron Shields completed the class podium, meanwhile.

RESULTS: Rolex 24 at Daytona

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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