Saturday, Jun 10

Transcript: James Allen, Fred Poordad, Francesco Pizzi, Giammaria Bruni, Christian Reed

Sunday, Jan 29 436

THE MODERATOR: We'll welcome to the stage our winners in the No. 55 Fred Poordad, Francesco Pizzi, James Allen, Gimmi Bruni.

This is James Allen's first Rolex 24 win, just his third start here. Previous best was third in the 2019 Rolex 24. Gimmi's first Rolex 24 win fourth class win in 34 starts last one Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in 2011.

Fred Poordad, first Rolex 24 win, first class win, third start. Last start at Rolex 24 was in 2012 in GT.

And also Francesco's first win here, as well.

With that, we'll get questions back open again.

Q. If you could just talk a little bit more about the effort that the team had to go through to get this car back ready for the race.

CHRISTIAN REED: You mean after Sunday qualifying or during the week?

Q. After Thursday's incident.

CHRISTIAN REED: Yeah, you know, it was quite a big hit in the barrier, and actually we need four new corners and a new gearbox and some body work, and we asked IMSA to get approved for working a little bit longer than 10:00, which IMSA is always super kind to help.

The guys worked until midnight and started in the morning at 6:00, and finally the car was not in perfect condition for the next session, but at least we could do a shakedown.

Q. I talked with James already, but for the other three drivers, what were you thinking as you were watching at the end? Did you think you could pull it off? Any one of you can answer?

FRANCESCO PIZZI: I was there the whole time. I couldn't drive by night, so when it was by day I stayed beside them, always in the box, be ready. The only time I wasn't in the box I got called because there was a full course yellow to change driver, and then I finished my hour stint and then James got back in.

I mean, from the first time we were on the lead lap, because I think three hours to the end we were still three laps back. I got out and we just gained a lap on the full course yellow, and we were on the lead lap and we left the car to James.

I think James did an amazing job to hold it up. I mean, at the end, the overtake at the last finish -- I wasn't watching TV. I just got on the main straight waiting for them to pass, and when I saw him winning I couldn't understand anything anymore, because I never drove endurance before, and today to be in such a difficult race and end that way, it's an amazing feeling.

Q. James, take us through that last couple of laps. That was quite the finish.

JAMES ALLEN: Yeah, I mean, honestly, I didn't really think we were in with much of a shot. I was behind the AF Corse car for quite a while, and I could see the Crowdstrike car was building a gap more and more and more and so by the time I did get past the AF Corse car, there was quite a distance. Honestly, was not at all thinking am I going to catch this guy up.

But slowly but surely the gap sort of kept coming down and I could see even from like the penultimate lap I was getting a good run going to the start-finish line. I actually got in front before the start-finish line, so I thought, no point in trying to force an issue or take any crazy risk. I've got the straight-line speed. I can do it still.

I did come out of the Bus Stop thinking, have I done this properly? Do I have enough time? Have I got an exit good enough? And luckily I did, and just got him right below the line. I don't think I was breathing coming out of speedway 4 up to the start line. It was such a crazy moment for me. I don't think I've ever had anything like that, and I'm probably not sure I will ever again. It was really such an amazing feeling.

Q. In about 10 days' time you could be driving an LMP2 car again with the team you just beat.

JAMES ALLEN: Yeah, I think I'm going to see them after this, go talk to them. I'm sure they'll be happy for me.

Q. This team was originally pitched as possibly going to run one of the cuts for Porsche 963s, but those won't be ready until sometime in the late spring at least. What's going to be the grand plan for this 55 team here in IMSA? Is this going to be a one-off for you guys or are you going to do some more LMP2 starts or wait?

CHRISTIAN REED: Yeah, for sure we'll wait for the customer car, but just waiting is a little bit too boring for us, so we decided to do Daytona as a one-off in IMSA, and we'll do ELMS of the car.



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