Devlin DeFrancesco justifies his hype with stunning performance at Rolex 24

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Despite only turning 18 a few weeks ago, Devlin DeFrancesco impressed on his Rolex 24 debut.

The atmosphere at the Daytona International Speedway, steeped in so much history, was electric when the cars lined up for the race day.

The crowds roared in unison knowing that they were in for a treat over the next 24 hours.

Right in the thick of the action, the 85 Banana Boat (it is rather yellow), was a sight as it climbed up the banking and prepared to come in for DeFrancesco’s opening lap.

As the clock hit six, it was time for Devlin to put everything learnt into action, thrilled to be taking over from teammate Robert Alon.

He started like a house on a fire, consistently hitting the targets set by his team, and further demonstrating his versatility as a racing driver.

As he later left the car, the youngster had this to say: “It’s very new to me, sportscar racing.

"From my side I’m happy we were quick and consistent. There’s a few things we’re going to change with the balance couple niggles with the Radio - Austin’s in now but I think we’re in for a good one.”

As the Florida circuit plunged into darkness, the drama reached its peak as the field became plagued by punctures.

Devlin went out for a triple-stint, unmoved by the fact he was the youngest in the field.

Once again, Devlin proved his worth with a series of consistently fast laps, which put his team in 11th spot at the half way stage.

After a tough and hard-fought 24 hours of racing, the 85 Oreca crossed the line in 6th place; ahead of their sister car.

Devlin not only achieved the fastest average lap over 50 laps, but he also claimed the overall fastest lap for the 85 team.

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Speaking at the conclusion of the race, he said: “If someone told me I was going to finish P6 one week ago, I would have almost said they were crazy, the team did a mega job, my team-mates were fantastic.

“We had niggly issues here and there with fuel pump and hydraulics, we were a bit stressed and our hearts were in our mouths! We came through, we didn’t have any punctures, no blow-outs, no mistakes.

“It feels amazing to finish P6 in my first Daytona 24! Already looking forward to coming back next year and to see if we can get on the podium.”

With his debut FIA F3 European Championship around the corner, big things lie in wait for this promising Canadian.

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