Fernando Alonso, a two-time Formula One champion – has won the rain-shortened 2019 24 Hours of Daytona – overtaking Felipe Nasr with just two laps to go from the eventual finish on Sunday. The Spanish-born racer became only the third Formula One champion to win the Rolex 24, joining Phil Hill (1964) and Mario Andretti (1972).
“It’s amazing,” Alonso told NBCSN. “Just an amazing experience with this team, from the test and now the race – a perfect execution of the race.
“Very difficult conditions today, and it’s just been an amazing experience with this team, from the test and now the race – a perfect execution. We’ve been competitive in everything – dry, wet, night and day. Really happy for the team and all the guys.”
Alonso, who recently retired from Formula One racing after the 2018 season, said the victory would rank very high among all his accomplishments.
“To win this kind of endurance racing at iconic places like Daytona means a lot,” he said. “With zero experience and background in endurance before (last year) it’s quite a big thing.”
Already the winner of last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 37-year-old Alonso will attempt to complete the Triple Crown of motorsports by capturing the Indy 500 in May. No other racer has accomplished this three-peat.
Driving the Wayne Taylor Cadillac DPI, Alonso took control late in the race when Brazilian Felipe Nasr overdrove turn one in the final laps, and drove into deep water, losing a 1.5-second advantage. By the time Nasr had things under control, Alonso was already 12 seconds ahead
Kamui Kobayashi, Jordan Taylor and Renger vanDer Zande teamed up with Fernando Alonso for the victory in his second try in the 24-hour race which was twice red-flagged because of rain and water on the track and was halted 10 minutes early.
“With all the rain, I’ve never seen a race like this,” Team Penske boss Roger Penske told NBCSN.
Alexander Rossi was the only other driver to finish in the lead lap. He placed third.