Daytona, 30. January 1971
3 PM local time
Start of the tenth Daytona 24-hour race and second run of the long-distance brand world championship. The duel between two arch rivals, the Porsche 917 and the Ferrari 512, enters the next round. "Captain Nice", Mark Donohue, had secured pole position on his Sunoco-Penske Ferrari 512M with an incredible 215 km/h record lap, a full nine seconds below Mario Andretti's time last year, and 1.2 seconds faster than Donohue's toughest competitor, Pedro Rodriguez in a Porsche 917K. From the start, the yellow-blue Penske-Ferrari is ahead of the Mexican Rodriguez, and the two fastest in training leave the Swiss Jo Siffert in his Gulf-Porsche 917K far behind in third place. Meanwhile Ronnie Bucknum in his Ferrari 512 Spyder keeps himself bravely in sixth place.
After just five laps, Donohue and Rodriguez begin their first laps on the six-kilometre circuit. The Mexican Rodriguez hangs close to the rear of the American Donohue and dazzles the headlights up and down to intimidate the Ferrari driver. The Porsche has slight advantages in the tight corners of the inner course. In the 13th lap Pedro then shoots out of the slipstream of the Ferrari and grabs the lead on the home straight. Shortly after the first corner Donohue catches up with the Porsche again in the steep corner and can easily distance himself. After 20 laps the Ferrari has a three-second lead. Rodriguez is catching up, and in the 29th. Rodriguez is catching up, and in the 29th lap the Mexican takes the lead in a breathtaking manoeuvre, but shortly afterwards the two leaders have to go for the first pit stop. The little Mexican is complaining about strong vibrations. The tyre on the right rear wheel had started to disintegrate. After 30 laps and 54 minutes of the toughest duels the Porsche and the Ferrari are on the same level. Jackie Oliver takes over the Porsche from Pedro and leaves the pits eight seconds behind the Penkse-Ferrari. 23 hours to go.
The best car race ever has only just begun.