Ally Cadillac drivers Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, Calif.), Kamui Kobayashi (Japan), Mike Rockenfeller (Germany), and José María López (Argentina) finished fifth in this weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Just shortly after the midway point in the race, Johnson had the controls of the No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R when he and the No. 13 P3 car made contact in Turn Three. The No. 48 spun off course, sustaining suspension damage in the right rear. Johnson brought the car to the garage to fix the damage. Unfortunately, the damage was significant, and the Ally Cadillac crew went to work fixing the car. When the No. 48 returned to the track, it was 21 laps down to the DPi leader.
All four drivers got seat time over the final five hours of the race. Unfortunately, they were not in contention for a win. But, they continued to turn laps on pace with the DPi race leaders and finished fifth. They finished second last year. However, the much-needed seat time should better prepare the team as they compete for the MSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Endurance Cup this season.
“All in all, we had a reasonable Ally Cadillac and a reasonable opportunity to win,” Johnson said. “I was overtaking a P3 car into the night. My right rear tapped his front going into the Esses in Turn Two, and with that touch, it broke the rear suspension and sent me off spinning into the grass. That is where we lost all of our laps. I went through there 50 or 60 times through the course of the weekend and that one time I tapped another car and broke the Ally Cadillac. Every lap matters for us. We are not regulars. For Action Express and Hendrick Motorsports the more reps we get behind the wheel the better we will be.”
“Obviously, it was a shame not to be fighting with the leader,” Kobayashi said. “I think we had good pace. I think we had the potential to fight, but maybe not to win. I think for the 24 we had a good run with Jimmie, José María and Mike. The team did a great job. We did our best. Ally and Action Express gave us a good car. This has been my first race of the season for the last couple of years and puts me into a good mood for the season. Thanks to the team and IMSA for a great couple of weeks.”
“Like I said before the race, you can win or you can be last,” Rockenfeller said. “I mean you have to stay so clean here. You have to make it through the night. We got caught up in traffic and had an incident there. It is part of the game. You overtake so many cars so many times in your stint, sometimes you get squeezed and there is a little touch. It took a while to repair it and we could not recover. We had a good Ally Cadillac. Everyone worked hard and drove good. We will come back and try again at Sebring.”
“The Action Express boys did a great job with the car and on pit lane today,” Lopez said. “The Ally Cadillac had good speed throughout the race. We had some bad luck with contact with Jimmie, but the team was able to make the repair and get us back in the fight. This is such a great race. I had a great time running in my first race at Daytona. It was an honor to race with Jimmie and my friends Rocky and Kamui.”
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next heads to Sebring International Raceway for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts March 16-19.
Source. Kyle Chura Associates/Photo. Brian Cleary