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Level 5 wins Rolex 24 in GTD after penalty overturned

Jan 26, 2014, 6:26 PM EST

Markus Winkelhock, Nelson Canache Jr., Spencer Pumppelly, Tim Pappas AP

Level 5 Motorsports has been named the GTD class winners of the Rolex 24 at Daytona following a review by IMSA officials and VP of Competition and Technical Regulations, Scot Elkins.

The finish was controversial after a battle between Alessandro Pier Guidi for Level 5 and Markus Winkelhock for Flying Lizard Motorsports, and potentially put a damper on what had been a good opening for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

The quartet for Flying Lizard pictured right, Winkelhock, Spencer Pumpelly, Tim Pappas and Nelson Canache, now don’t have the win in their corner.

Here’s the official IMSA statement:

A full post-race review of the incident on the last lap of the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona was completed by IMSA Supervisory Officials. The decision has been made to reverse the decision by the race director, rescind the penalty against the No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia team, and reinstate drivers Scott Tucker, Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell, Jeff Segal and Alessandro Pier Giuidi as the GT Daytona class winners. We regret the confusion following the race, and appreciate the patience by our fans, drivers, teams and the media so we could properly review and subsequently report this decision.

  1. danoid1 - Jan 26, 2014 at 6:42 PM

    They should have taken the time to get it right the first time.

  2. chad4208 - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:12 PM

    they shouldn’t have regulations that prevent racing ” “avoidable contact with another competitor, whether or not such contact interrupts the other competitor’s lap times, track position or damages other competitor’s Cars,
    ——and whether or not such actions result in actual contact,——– may be warned or penalized.”

  3. chad4208 - Jan 27, 2014 at 1:26 AM

    thumbs down my post but how do you have avoidable contact when no contact was made and it does not ” interrupt the other competitor’s lap times, track position or damage other competitor’s Car?” The rule book states a driver can be penalized for passing a car! or even attempting to make a pass. Whast the point of these guys going out on the race track if they likely will receive a penalty for getting close enough to each other to make racing/passing possible?

    • midtec2005 - Jan 27, 2014 at 9:23 AM

      The rule is definitely written poorly. An unavoidable contact penalty should be reserved for stupid dive-bomb maneuvers, E. J. Viso style.

    • eatitfanboy - Jan 27, 2014 at 11:14 AM

      The key part of the rule is “may be warned or penalized”. The rule needs to be there so that there is a remedy in the case of an especially egregious action by a driver. The rules makers assumed that race officials would use great discretion in it’s application. I am sure that even if the cars had made contact, which they clearly didn’t, this would not have been a case where they would have wanted to see the rule applied.

  4. eatitfanboy - Jan 27, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    Justice served. The 458 was so clearly superior. How the Flying Lizard drivers could even stand on that podium with a straight face is beyond me. Oh, and by the way, that late yellow was complete nonsense. Don’t rig race endings, Tudor. We already have a WWE version of racing. It’s called NASCAR.

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