1970 24 Hours of Daytona – Race Profile Page Twelve
For some of the foreign drivers and crew getting to and from the concession stands and bathrooms was becoming an ordeal because several Volusia County deputy sheriffs were turning everyone away from the pit entrance unless you had the proper credentials. By this time in the race few drivers and mechanics still had their race passes pinned to their clothing and the deputies knew no French, German or Italian so there were some tense moments until someone from Bill France’s office arrived to sort things out. The foreign press would have a lot to say about this after the race was over.
As if a flat tire and broken shock weren’t trouble enough the Siffert/Redman 917K developed clutch failure on lap 482. Repairing the Porsche seemed out of the question so late in the race so orders were given to push it behind the pit wall and get it prepared to be loaded on the transporter.
Redman was quickly reassigned to the leading Rodriguez/Kinnunen Porsche because Kinnunen didn’t speak any English and they had trouble trying to communicate with him what was needed to win, which was slow down and conserve the car.
Before the disabled Gulf Porsche was loaded on the transporter a Porsche engineer suggested that repairing the clutch shouldn’t take more than 90 minutes. Back the car went to pit road and mechanics Ermanno Cuoghi and Peter Davies bent to the task of repairing the clutch which they had never done before. They did this in record time and the total time lost, including pushing to and from, was only 81 minutes and Jo Siffert was in the car and back on the track in fourth place.
Meanwhile on the track Brian Redman was piloting the leading #2 Gulf Porsche 917K. As Redman completed his 36th lap in the car he was passed by Jo Siffert in what Redman believed was the disabled and withdrawn #1 Gulf 917K. In Redman’s words it was, “…the shock of my life when Siffert came blasting past in our car.”
When Redman returned to “his” car both he and Siffert put “pedal to the metal” and with two hours left they recaptured second place from Andretti. A brush with the wall forced a five-minute pit stop for tires allowing Andretti to go back into second.
With ten minutes left on the clock Leo Kinnunen brought in the leading car for a quick driver change. Pedro Rodriguez had the honors of taking the checkered flag at Daytona for the third time. It would be his first in a Porsche but his second in a 24-hour event, having taken his first in the 1968 Le Mans enduro driving a Ford GT40 Mk. I for John Wyer’s Ford team.
In those final minutes of the race confusion in the pits and in the timing shed made many believe that the race for second was much closer than it actually was. As a result the shouting of the announcer over the public address system made wonderful theater as people thought they were witnessing a close-fought duel between Porsche and Ferrari for second place. In reality the Siffert/Redman Porsche actually had a three-lap lead over the Andretti/Merzario/Ickx Ferrari but during those final minutes everyone in the grandstands and in the pits was on their feet shouting for their favorite.
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