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Jan 27, 2014 - 06:49 AM
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2014 Daytona 24: S. Pumpelly, T. Pappas, M. Winkelhock, N. Canache Jr.
Posted by: newsla on Jan 27, 2014 - 06:44 AM
Grand Am News
2014 Daytona 24: S. Pumpelly, T. Pappas, M. Winkelhock, N. Canache Jr.


THE MODERATOR: Let's begin our 52th Rolex 24 at Daytona winners' interviews with the winners of our GT Daytona Class in the inaugural Tudor United SportsCar Championship race as well as the first race of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup with Flying Lizard Motorsports, No. 45 Audi R8 LMS. This is the second consecutive class win at the Rolex 24 for Nelson, who also won the GX class here last year. This is Spencer's third Rolex 24 class win, and the first win in Rolex 24 competition for both Pappas and Winkelhock. Let's obviously start with Markus. Take us through that last lap and your perspective on that.

 

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MARKUS WINKELHOCK: Yeah, for sure it was an incredible last lap. I think I just saw on television, plenty of space turning in the kink, and exit off the corner, yeah, he tried to push me in the cross. He didn't let me enough space, so I went off. That's not the way to win a race, so I think it's a fair decision. And I'm absolutely happy being on the podium today.

I remember last year we were fighting for a victory until the last lap, and we run out of fuel, out of the bus stop chicane. For me it's really, really nice to be back this year and winning the race.

THE MODERATOR: Let's go to Nelson. Your thoughts on two in a row here at the Rolex 24?

NELSON CANACHE JR.: Well, the team that ‑‑ thanks to the team. They gave us a great car. We knew that we didn't have the car to qualify maybe in the top position, but we knew that we had a good car for the long race, and that was proven. We came out from last and we kept going the whole 24 hours. Working at the end was really hard. We were expecting a yellow flag. I think we wouldn't even maybe finish on the podium without the yellow flag because we were really tight on fuel. But yellow flag came up, and Markus did a great job and Spencer, the team and all the guys on the crew did a great job. Really happy for me to be here for second time in a row as a Daytona winner.

THE MODERATOR: Spencer, this is your third win here at the Rolex 24. Where does this one rank for you?

SPENCER PUMPELLY: This will definitely be memorable. That final 20 minutes, that last lap, watching Markus drive, just an unbelievable job he did. If you think about how much effort it took for Flying Lizard to take on the new manufacturer, kind of revamp the entire team and get up to speed onwhat it would take to make that car competitive right off the bat, it's just an enormous undertaking and they just did a phenomenal job. I'm really proud of everyone. All the guys on both cars were just phenomenal, put a massive amount of effort, long nights, long weeks, and this is the result was a great car and a great win.

THE MODERATOR: Tim, your comments on a first Rolex 24 win.

TIM PAPPAS: I mean, I was a late addition to the team, and when the guys called me and told me there was an opportunity, I jumped on it. I'm stunned, just stunned. These guys, I watched Spencer and Markus just absolutely crush it out there, unbelievable stints, great driving. You know, Nelson and I did what we were supposed to do. We brought the car back, brought it back where it was supposed to be, kept it safe, and this is unbelievable.

Q. I have a couple of questions for Markus. Can you give some update how the contact came with Flying Lizard to drive for them? Did you ever drive in this configuration with your teammates? And did you speak after the incident with the Ferrari driver, talk to them to hear their version of the incident?

MARKUS WINKELHOCK: Yeah, the contact to the team came. I'm an Audi factory driver of Audi customer racing, and they support the customer teams with factory drivers. Yeah, and they decided to put me to Flying Lizard, which was a very good decision at the end.

No, I really have to say thanks at this point to the team. They did a really amazing job all weekend, all the mechanics, engineers, everyone. So it's a big thank you from my side to all the guys behind the pit wall.

Everything was new. All the team members, all my teammates I met the first time at the test, at the road test, so everything was brand new for me.

And no, not yet. Just got out of the car, haven't talked to them yet. I don't know anything about that.

Q. Spencer, first race for Flying Lizard with the R8 after building their legacy with a different manufacturer. Tell me about that, definitely expected you guys to be successful this year, but debut win with a new brand. Tell me about it.

SPENCER PUMPELLY: Well, I think the Lizard's track record speaks for itself. They're one of the top teams in the paddock. Everything they do is top‑notch, 100 percent. Nothing they do is overlooked. I don't want to say it was expected, but I'm not surprised at all that we were able to get this result first time out. It's one of those groups of people that just gels well together, people get along. They don't even have to communicate necessarily because there's like a second nature to the way they do things, and it just happens.

Yeah, again, I can't say 100 percent I expected it. I knew we would be fast, and I'm just really, really proud of the work that they did to get us here.

Q. Spencer, I was wondering, the first race for the unified series, everything seemed to be going smooth and then right at the end the full course caution came out, and based on what I'm seeing on Twitter fans have a little bit of mixed reaction, and then the call at the end that went in your favor. I'm wondering if you think these two calls are indicative of maybe the way officiating is going to go under this new series?

SPENCER PUMPELLY: Well, I can't really speak to the yellow because I wasn't watching the incident. I heard it came out quick, but with the history of some of the incidents we've had, I can't really blame them if that was the case.

But let's just be very clear: The guy tried to win the race by driving Markus off the road when it was Markus's turn to drive and try to pass and even mine, too, we raced that car clean as could be all day, never once left himless than a car width and an inch that I think is the fair way to go. Markus when he was on the outside, didn't go to the apex and squeeze him. He left him a car width and an inch, left him more than enough room at the second apex of the bus stop when they slid up into us and got into our car the first time.

So I'm glad the officiating went this way. If you want to win races in the Tudor Series by driving people off the road on the last lap, then I would be surprised if that's how the officiating goes. It was absolutely the right call. They did a good job. We don't drive people off the road. We don't win races by driving people off the road. They tried to do that, and it didn't work, and it's a great result for us.

Q. Spencer, you guys weren't even really in it at the beginning of the race. Talk about the comeback to get into contention.

SPENCER PUMPELLY: Yeah, actually going back to some other questions we had, one of the things I think that was indicative of this being our first time with the car is we did have a couple mistakes early on in some of the pit work. A lot of the driver changes weren't great and that's kind of more on the drivers than the team who gave us pretty much everything we needed. It's a new thing for all of us. We're all excited, we're all in a hurry, it's dark sometimes. So some of the hiccups put us back and then we struggled to get back on the lead lap. We'd get there and we'd have to do some maintenance on the car, pads or things like that, or we wouldn't catch lucky yellows. That's going to put us back, but I felt like we were always pretty strong. I knew if we could get the laps back and I knew the Flying Lizard guys would figure out a way to get the laps back, that we would have a good car and we could race. I never really thought, even when we were sitting 15th eight hours in that we were out of it. So yeah, and then Markus was just doing strong stints all night. I felt like when I was in the car I could run with anyone that was out there. There's different cars that did differentthings well. The 555 obviously even in the draft it was hard to stay with in the banking. But we just kept at it, head down, and hung out, and sure enough, got a couple bad breaks with the yellow coming out when weneeded fuel, got a couple good breaks with the last yellow. When you win an endurance race you have both, and no one has ever won the 24 without a little bit of luck, and I can speak to that because I've done it three times now. We were in the right position to take advantage of it when the luck came our way.

Q. Markus, if you could perhaps pick up on something Tim said. He said he just had to get the car home every time. How hard was it to do that, for anybody to do that this race?

MARKUS WINKELHOCK: Yeah, the car was pretty good, drivable, this weekend. But it's a long race, 24 hours. It can happen many things, especially with the DP cars. They are overtaking sometimes pretty aggressive, and it's not easy to see them all the time because you are focused on your line, on your racing, on always watching in the mirror. And yeah, it just can happen that you have contact and the race is over.

As Tim said before, it's really important just to finish the race, first of all, and yeah, that's what we did, without any contact, without any mistakes. We had good pit stops. Everything worked perfect.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, gentlemen.

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