Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series: Rolex 24 at Daytona
Topics: Rolex 24 at Daytona
Dion Von Moltke
January 27, 2013
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
HERB BRANHAM: GT class champions, congratulations. Big day for Audi.
Q. Felipe, talk us through the final stint of the race. How thrilling was it?
FELIPE ALBUQUERQUE: It was crazy. They put me on the car. We were not really dreaming about the victory because we were one lap down and two hours and a half to the end, so it would be really hard to win. And just put inside, I just came inside, just do every lap like a qualifying lap. I didn't care about the car or whatever, just curbs. I was just really flat‑out.
The restart was just perfect. The strategy of the team of Alex Job was perfect, also, and when we were on the same lap of the leaders, like, okay, they were still ahead, and I knew especially that Rene was really fast, but it was certain point, keep pushing, and the strategy was just different. In the end, I was leading but I had to do a splash and dash so I don't know how much back I would fall, but I was just pushing and then I s I started to have gear problems, so I had some problems with the gears, I had to use the clutch, upshifting, downshifting, but I was just getting slow, and took some risks. It came when I did the splash and dash and came on the track. We were ahead some distance for two laps or three, I believe, but I knew that Rene had new tires and my tires were gone. Braking in the chicane was just a nightmare. Yeah, white flag, it's whatever it takes. It was just perfect. I really can't believe it. I need to thank all the crew, my fellows, Alex Job and Audi Sport.
Q. Alex, talk a little bit about this is a new relationship you have with Audi and you've done well before with Porsches. Talk about what this means to you.
ALEX JOB: Well, it's obviously a pretty special way to start. I've been watching Audi for years and years and have owned their products in the past and always had a very high respect for their products, and when I got the phone call to potentially work with them here at Daytona, I was very honored that I got that call and just went to work very hard on coming up with some success here.
I already had a commitment in place at that time to run another car, which we ran here, which is part of a big corporate umbrella, they're in the family together, so that was a bit of a challenge to manage both.
But in the end it all worked out, and the support that we got from Audi, the drivers that we got from Audi, one of the Audi drivers that ran in the series last year that also drove for me in other races, including a Sebring win last year, actually came on board, and actually Dion was instrumental in opening the door for this relationship.
What can I say? I'm a bit overwhelmed. We'll see what more this leads to, but you know, Audi has had an incredible history at Sebring, and it may have been the last race for Audi at Sebring, but now it's the first one for Audi at Daytona, and I'm part of that. I'm pretty overwhelmed.
Q. Alex, can you explain to what extent this was an Audi factory effort and how much of Alex Job Racing was in there, and secondly, how thrilling were the final stages of the race were you with the different strategy with the No.23 and 24 cars?
ALEX JOB: Well, I'll start with that. It was too thrilling, too nerve wracking, and I had no team orders. My goal was to win for number one, WeatherTech, number two, AJR and do the right job for both brands, and I felt that had to be done without any team orders. I came into in this race explaining that to Porsche and explaining that to Audi. We went into it that way. It's a little anti‑climactic at the end that we didn't finish one‑two. The Audi clearly had the speed and was positioned to win. We were on a different strategy with the other car, and it didn't quite work.
So it's disappointing that the other car didn't finish higher.
As you may know, there were three Audi supported cars, the 13 car and the 52 car, as well, and Audi came with a lot of support with some of their drivers for each team and some of their mechanics for each team and some engineering help and all that was very important to the process, but at the end of the day, for the most part, it was my team that ran the race, and it was my engineer and strategist that called the shots, and we certainly got some help from Audi, but more importantly, the amazing drivers that Audi brought, it's just the perfect scenario where you bring two entities together that work together in the strongest possible way, and you could see at the end of the race that the other two Audis were right there, as well. It certainly was a great effort.
We didn't have the best speed all day long. Quite frankly the Ferraris were very quick at times and the Porsches were quick at times, and it came to us at the end. It wasn't too long before the end of the race we were running 6th and 7th with our two cars. We got a penalty that I didn't agree with and I fought and I thought we were done, but at the end my strategy team figured out a way to bring it back, a little bit of lady luck, and it all worked out. It's awesome. I'm sure I'll be quite drunk tonight.
Q. Dion, you and I talked after Sebring last year, and you described your emotions for winning that with Alex. How are you feeling now?
DION VON MOLTKE: The same, completely speechless, again. I've always really, really enjoyed and loved driving for Alex. The team, everyone on the team really gets along, and I've always said chemistry is the most important part of winning any race, especially Sebring or Daytona or petite or any of those races. These three guys to my right are already some of my best friends in two weeks and some of the best drivers I've ever got the honor to work with, as well?
Of course everyone at Alex's team and everyone at Audi, we all had one goal, and we all worked together towards that goal. Two hours ago when we thought we were down and out, we kept fighting, we kept digging, we kept trying to find any way, and Felipe probably put in ‑‑ probably the best drive I've ever seen a race car driver do in my life, and that's what it really takes to win this race, and to pull it off is really special.
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