IMSA was set to drop the green flag; Then they dropped the red flag instead
First red flag in Rolex 24 at Daytona since 2004
Fernando Alonso has worked himself to the race leader of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The race is currently at the 17 hour mark.
About an hour prior, the skies opened and dropped buckets of water on the race track. One of the Corvette machines hydroplaned right off the race track. A few hour cars suffered similar results as they ventured off track and got stuck in the grass.
Sportscars are equipped with rain tires. However, rain tires don’t help drivers navigate puddles.
Cars rolled around under caution for about an hour. The idea is to keep some heat into the track while simultaneously washing some of the rain off the track via grooved rain tires.
Wayne Taylor is the owner of the Cadillac machine that the current race leader is driving. Fernando Alonso has radioed to the team that the track is currently a wash.
He pleased his case with an IMSA official. The arms waved as they aggressively talked it out. But, they temporarily agreed to disagree.
“The entire team doesn’t have any clue and neither do the drivers on why we’re driving round and round and round,” team owner Wayne Taylor said from atop his pit box during the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“Anybody could look on the radar to see this is getting worse. You gotta respect what the driver’s telling you.”
“Somebody’s sitting up in an office, looking down at the track. He needs to take the advice of the guy that’s literally on the track.”
“What they should be doing… bring all the cars down pit lane, stop them and red flag the race.”
“Yes. I could be saying this — Everybody’s thinking that, ‘We’re leading the race so we want it stopped.’ But, we’ve got a pretty good hot shoe in our car at the moment. He proved it by the lap time he was doing.”
“But, when you listen to him on the radio explain what it like out there to our next driver, it’s just not right.”
Fernando Alonso wasn’t the only driver to complain about the track conditions and request a red flag. Several drivers stated the track was treacherous even under caution.
The GTLM division doesn’t have ABS.
Where are the worst spots on the track as Fernando described?
“Coming into the pit lane, turn 1, turn 6, bus stop.”
“It’s silly. I’m not even mad. It’s just like, what are they doing?”
With 7 hours and 15 minutes remaining, IMSA officials stepped in. They elected to drop the green flag on the race.
Coming to the green, the rain began pouring harder. As soon as that happened, IMSA dropped the red flag on the race. The cars have pulled and parked on the pit lane.
IMSA Race Director Beaux Barfield explained his reasoning behind the red flag.
It’s the first red flag in the Rolex 24 at Daytona since 2004. The clock continues to run.