Alonso drives past Castroneves to lead at Daytona

Fernando Alonso is the star as his team wins rain-shortened race at Daytona

The two-time Formula One champion was part of the winning effort at the rain-hit 24 Hours of Daytona that concluded Sunday, becoming only the third former F1 champion to capture the endurance race classic after Phil Hill in 1964 and Mario Andretti in 1972.

For the first time in history, the race was red flagged twice due to wet conditions, first for an hour, 45 minutes on Sunday morning and a second and final time at 12:39 p.m.

The double F1 World Champion teamed up with Jordan Taylor, Kamui Kobayashi and Renger van der Zande in the Wayne Taylor Racing No. 10 Konica Minolta DPi Cadillac.

There have been plenty of wild finishes in the 57 editions of the iconic Rolex 24 At Daytona. I have to say thanks to [McLaren CEO] Zak Brown for making this happen. The field was led to the green flag by Oliver Jarvis in the pole-sitting No. 77 Mazda DPi. In years since, he has become one of the world's top hand-cyclists while occasionally returning to the race track in specially equipped cars.

Alonso spent his stints reminding the motorsport world that he really is rather brilliant when given a vehicle that's actually competitive.

He added: "We had a plan to execute the race and followed it step by step".

"I need to think, I need to plan, I need to make sure that I'm competitive, to have the right people, the right teams, and the right preparations", he said. Conditions were changing all the time. "All four drivers led in their own right and drove to the lead, different parts of the race, and it was all about survival".

With cars spinning left and right, the race was rhythmed by its full course yellow flags, but Alonso, who had taken over from a fearless and flawless Jordan Taylor, Action Express Racing's Felipe Nasr's and Penske Acura's Alex Rossi kept themselves out of trouble. We stayed out of trouble, no auto damage, no one went off the track.

"I'm really happy for these guys", he said. "Daytona is one of those venues and speedways that you would like to win eventually one day in your career". "When he came on the radio and was talking in fear, I realized they were doing the right thing (to stop racing)". It's a big puzzle and it comes together in this victory here right now. "I need to be very calm and clever with the decisions for the future".

Two of Alonso's three stints in the auto were during the rain, in part because F1 had made him the most experienced driver on the Taylor lineup in wet conditions, and because he had the control and steadiness to manage the risks versus reward in a torrential rainstorm.

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