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FEBRUARY 2, 2004

Christian Fittipaldi wins a dramatic Daytona 24 Hours

Former Formula 1 driver Christian Fittipaldi won the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona over the weekend, sharing a Pontiac-powered Doran prototype with Terry Borcheller, Andy Pilgrim and Forest Barber. The result was a fortuitous one as 20 minutes before the end of the race a suspension failure halted NASCAR stars Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr and British driver Andy Wallace in a Chevrolet-powered Crawford, which had led for 18 hours

The two NASCAR drivers caused a major surprise by running as strongly as they did in what is in effect a road race, which included considerable amounts of rain. But on Sunday afternoon their car began to suffer from suspension problems and slowed.

Fittipaldi and his crew were closing in but they in turn were being caught by the Pontiac-Riley of Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli and Emmanuel Collard . This went out with engine failure and then the leading car finally broke and so the Doran-Pontiac, which was struggling itself with engine problems finished up crossing the line three laps ahead of a Porsche driven by Johnny Mowlem, Mike Fitzgerald, Joe and Jay Policastro and Robin Lidell, who were only seven seconds clear of the third placed car, another Porsche driven by Johannes van Overbeek, Seth Neiman, Lonnie Pechnik, Peter Cunningham and Mike Rockenfeller.