Alonso finishes P38 at Daytona 24 Hours

Fernando Alonso 2018 Rolex 24 hour

The McLaren Formula 1 star's much-vaunted maiden Daytona appearance was beset by issues in the #23 United Autosports Ligier JS P217, which dropped out of contention for a top finish with a brake problem.

Having been at the wheel when the vehicle suffered a brake problem on two occasions - causing him to go straight on at Turn 1 - Alonso admits such a failure was concerning to deal with.

"As I said when I came to Indianapolis, it was my first time oval racing, first time for many things, as it happened here".

Along with teammates Lando Norris and Phil Hanson, Alonso ultimately finished in 38th overall, 91 laps down on the winning Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi.

I saw it for the first time in 2009, and it became an instant favourite, not least because, as Chip Ganassi says, "It's like a harbinger of spring". The auto then suffered further brake and throttle issues throughout the race, requiring more garage time, so that when Alonso stepped out of the vehicle for the final time in the 22 hour, he was in 20 place and 50 laps down.

"How much you need to be in the garage, how much focus you need to have in the race and how to get ready to jump in the auto - sometimes when you expect and sometimes when the engineer tells you time to go [was new]".

"The team is very busy with two cars running", Alonso said when asked if he was surprised at the time it took to replace the brake master cylinder. "That was one of the goals for this event".

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That gave us a lot of confidence going into the night, we recovered two laps, also thanks to the safety vehicle periods.

It then suffered a throttle problem and another brake failure - again with Alonso driving - and the vehicle eventually finished 36th.

However, there was success for the sister auto, with a line-up featuring Sky F1's Paul di Resta finishing a fine fourth despite their own reliability setbacks. "So I will be much more prepared for the practice, the race, driver changes, communication, driver preparation between the teams, how much rest you need to have".

Alonso said the problems suffered by his vehicle, which finished fourth at Le Mans a year ago, were "a little bit of a surprise and a little bit unlucky".

"You're scared a little bit, no doubt", Alonso said about losing the brakes. At night, obviously you don't see clearly the tire wall or where is the escape road, so there was even more of a scare.

"It is a positive feeling despite the issues and reliability".

He said Norris, who is racing in Formula 2 this season, had been "very impressive", adding: "On slicks in wet conditions he recovered something like 33 seconds in 20 laps (to the leaders)".

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