January 30, 2017

You be the steward: 2017 Rolex Daytona 24, Taylor vs Albuquerque

The final hour of the 2017 Rolex 24 hours of Daytona was certainly exciting but controversial.

With about eight minutes to go, Ricky Taylor nerfed fellow Cadillac driver Felipe Albuquerque and took over the lead for the eventual win when race control declined to intervene.

Predictably, reactions were split between the "rubbings racing" group and the "rules say" crowd.

There are no perfect views of the incident but let's take a look at what we do have.

Here is the (partial) view from Ricky Taylor's car

Looks fairly clear cut from this view,  there was a tiny gap and Taylor dived in.

Now, let's look from the outside.

Less clear cut from here,  Albuquerque takes a more "normal" line and does leave a gap.

Clearly  Taylor is nowhere near being far enough along side to "own" the line and from the expression on Wayne Taylor's face I'm guessing he agreed.
On the other hand, the argument that Albuquerque did not realize Taylor was there is not that plausible either, not with the tracking radar rear view screens they all have onboard.
That you will be passed because someone is under you in turn one is not a given:

That the stewards did not want to be picking the winner is understandable:  final laps of a 24 hour race  plagued by long yellow flag periods but also marked by a "let them race" attitude from race control (an earlier almost identical contact between the leading Risi Ferrari and the winning Ford GT also went unchallenged,  as did a wonky restart by Albuquerque).    A penalty would have meant denying Wayne Taylor Racing yet another win, never mind keeping a Rolex from NASCAR's own Jeff Gordon.    Many will suspect it might have been a different decision had the roles been reversed of if different manufacturers had been involved.

But that's neither here nor there.   The last two hours of the race were a treat to watch,  GTLM had four of the five manufacturers, Ford, Ferrari, Corvette and Porsche all within 5 seconds on track.  It was anyone's race,  brilliant stuff.

Check out Patrick Pilet in the Porsche Cayman 911 RSR chasing Dirk Müller,  doing turn one defense  properly in the Ford GT

Great stuff

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