Helio Castroneves said the risk Harry Tincknell took trying to pass him during the fourth hour of the Rolex 24 was “ridiculous” as the No. 7 Team Penske Acura sustained heavy damage.
Tincknell made a late move to try and pass Castroneves — who was closing in on the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Porsche — down the inside into the Bus Stop, tagging the rear of the Acura and pitching the No. 7 into tires. While the No. 55 Mazda suffered little damage and received a drive-through penalty after a quick stop, Castroneves limped back to the pits, losing more than 20 laps off the lead.
With not even four hours of the race complete and green running throughout so far, the Brazilian says he had even made clear to Tincknell earlier on that he was not going to fight him hard for position at this early stage.
“It’s not even four hours into the race,” Castroneves told NBC Sports Network. “I’m dealing with traffic. I had traffic in front of me, I was just taking it easy, not diving into it because then both of us would be in trouble. And then the guy just decided to dive into it at the Bus Stop, a place that’s probably 120 miles per hour!
“So I’m just taking it easy as you can see the car is there, for what? For a risk that isn’t going to pay off! I mean, for him, obviously, nothing happened; but for my car, it’s destroyed. I had a great car, and it just … 24 hours! Arrggh! My goodness.
“I’m sorry that I’m expressing my feelings right now, but it’s just ridiculous. Especially when you tell the guy, you’re communicating ‘I’m taking it easy, I’ll let you by, no problem’ with so many hours to go.
“It’s just frustrating.”
Castroneves added that the collision was even more frustrating given the way the Acuras were picking up pace as the sun started to drop at Daytona.
“Listen, we’ve found a good set-up. We were actually taking it easy; I was making sure I stayed away from the curbs … I’m sorry, it’s just frustration right now. These guys are incredible; they’ll put it together. We’re going to cheer for the No. 6 car. Hopefully we can make this situation better at least, but it’s just stupid.”
UPDATE: Starting the fifth hour, the No. 7 Acura was back out. It was in the pits for about half an hour and lost 23 laps.