Mazda sets new lap record and takes Pole for Rolex 24 at Daytona


The morning at Daytona International Speedway started off with wet conditions as a heavy thunderstorm hit the speedway hours prior to first practice.

With the damp conditions, some of the Dpi teams opted to stay in their garage and wait for nicer conditions predicted for the second session. The Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac of Felipe Nasr, Eric Curran and Pipo Derani that topped the time sheet with a lap of 1:3.08.

JDC Miller Motorsport / Canadians Devlin DeFrancesco & Mikhail Goikhberg
Ruben Barrichello-Tristan Vautier

All 9 cars took to the track in the GTLM Class and it was a 1-2 for Porsche as the number 911 was quickest with a time of 1:45.334.

In the GTD class, in the wet conditions, the Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Roman DeAngelis and teammates ended the session in second spot.

The second session was on a dry track and Mazda Team Joest with its car number 55 came back on top with a time of 1:34.672. Second was the Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac of Barbosa, Conway, Albuquerque and Fittipaldi. Third place went to the CORE Autosport of Bennett, Brawn, Dumas and Duval.

It is as close as ever in the GTLM Class as all cars were within .826 of a second at the end of the second session.

As for the GTD Class, it was the Ferrari of Spirit of Race driven by Canadian Paul Dalla Lana with Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda that ended the session fastest with a time of 1:45.936.

Pfaff Motorsport were classified seventh, Daniel Morad’s MONTAPLAST by Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 was 15th(within a second of the leader) and the Audi Canada effort with Roman DeAngelis ended up in 21st.

Qualifying was hard fought with the top seven cars separated by less than a second. Mazda Team Joest came out on top with their number 77 and Oliver Jarvis at the wheel with a record time of 1:33.685. Second and third were the two Acura Team Penske.

Canadians Devlin DeFrancesco and Mikhail Goikhberg driving the JDC Miller Motorsport Cadillac Dpi, with Ruben Barrichello and Tristan Vautier, qualified eight.

AIM Vasser Sullivan

GTLM again saw a close fight for Pole and it is going to be the Porsche GT Team on Pole with the 911 car of Pilot, Tandy and Makowiecki. The number 3 Corvette Racing came up second and the 67 Ford Gt of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing in third.

Finally, in the GTD Class, The Ferrari 488 GT3 of Via Italia Racing took Pole with a time of 1:45.257. Pfaff Motorsport placed eight, Daniel Morad 15th and Roman DeAngelis 20th. Once again, the top 15 separated by one second. Toronto based AIM Vasser Sullivan qualified 12th and 14th.

Tomorrow is prep day at Daytona for the Rolex 24 as teams will go through every nuts and bolts making sure all is ready for the start of the Rolex 24 on Saturday at 2:35pm.

Images: PMstills Photography

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