Pilet disappointed to miss out on Daytona win on 911 RSR debut

by Paul Hensby

The 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona was the first time the Porsche 911 RSR hit the track in a competitive manner, and the #911 Porsche GT Team crew of Patrick Pilet, Dirk Werner and Frederic Makowiecki finished second in the ultra-close GTLM class on Sunday.

Pilet took the final stint of the race and pressurised Dirk Muller in the #66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing entry for the win, but ultimately was unable to make a move on his rival, and was forced in the last couple of laps to fend off the challenge of the #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari of James Calado as his tyres faded.

The Frenchman felt the way the race unfolded was typical for Daytona, and he used his knowledge of racing there to best use to ensure they remained in contention for the win, although there was disappointment that they could not close out the race in victory lane.

“That was a typical Daytona race,” admitted Pilet. “I knew that not a lot would happen in the first 20 hours and the decision always goes down to the wire. That’s why I didn’t take too many risks, and didn’t fight for every position come what may.

“I possibly made some team member nervous by taking this approach, but I knew exactly how things work here. Then during the last two hours I pulled out all stops and squeezed every last ounce out of the 911 RSR. Now I’m pleased.

“It was the maiden outing for our new car and the one little drawback was that we didn’t win. Still, it was an important step. Now I’m looking forward to Sebring.”

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