Kevin Estre and Bruno Spengler were both involved in a bizarre start incident at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, with both drivers laying blame for the clash at the other.
Estre, driving the #79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 at the start of the Florida enduro, was rear-ended by Spengler’s #25 BMW M8 GTE whilst coming to the flag, subsequently colliding with the Risi Competizione Ferrari and sending the GT field scattering in an attempt to avoid the spinning Porsche.
Both cars suffered damage, but it was the Porsche that took the worst punishment, severely damaging the rear and ending victory hopes before the race had well and truly begun.
In a post on Twitter, Estre laid the blame for the unusual incident firmly at Spengler’s feet, saying:
“Can’t believe it! We’ve lost the race before it even started… I was waiting for the pole sitter to go on power there and the BMW just went full throttle without looking ahead! Unbelievable…”
Estre was backed up by team-mate Richard Lietz, who responded by saying that Estre was ‘shunted from behind’.
“The start was beyond adventurous,” he said. “Kévin was driving and got shunted from behind. The car was badly damaged in the accident. Our team did a terrific job and fixed everything, but the gap was simply too big.
“Our strategy was perfect and we were able to make up five laps, but unfortunately, we couldn’t catch the frontrunners. We would’ve needed many more safety car phases to achieve that. So, we finished sixth.”
Spengler, meanwhile, has a different explanation for what happened at the start, claiming that Estre was slow to react to the green flag and it was too late to avoid a collision.
“Regarding the incident at the start when it was going green, I went on throttle as we do at every start here in IMSA, and the car in front of me did not quite go at the same time as me, so unfortunately I nicked the rear corner of his car,” the Canadian explained.
“I tried to avoid him but it was just enough to spin him around. That was a bit of an unfortunate situation but definitely not intentional. Unfortunately, on their car there was quite a lot of damage but these things can happen.”