TWO SESSIONS RUN UNDER A WARM AND HUMID DAY AT DAYTONA
The first practice kicked off Friday late morning for a 75-minute session where teams and drivers got back into the rhythm.
Going through system checks initially making certain everything was running smoothly. It did not take much time to get to serious lap times though and at the end of the runnings, AIM Vasser Sullivan #14 of Parker Chase (USA), Jack Hawksworth (GBR), Michael De Quesada (USA) a name familiar to Canadian Motorsport as De Quesada ran the Porsche GT3 Cup for a couple of seasons and NASCAR ace Kyle Busch (USA) ended up with the fastest time (1:47.031) which ended up being the fastest time of the day for the GTD class. This was three tenths ahead of Richard Heistand (USA), Steijn Schothorst (NLD) and Spaniard Albert Costa (Mikaël Grenier’s teammate at Emil Frey Racing in Europe) in their #11 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 and four tenths over sister car #12 at AIM Vasser Sullivan driven by Frankie Montecalvo (USA), Townsend Bell (USA) and Shane van Gisbergen (NZL).
Pfaff Motorsports were shown in ninth place two positions better than WRT Speedstar Audi Sport of Mirko Bortolotti (ITA), Rolf Ineichen (CHE), Daniel Morad (CAN). Young talent Roman De Angelis driving with Nicki Thiim DNK, Ian James USA and Alex Riberas (ESP) ended in 14th place.
The afternoon session saw a couple of red flags but did run its 90-minutes time. The three fastest time went to Lamborghini Huracan GT3 teams of GRT Magnus with drivers John Potter (USA), Andy Lally (USA) Spencer Pumpelly (USA) and Marco Mapelli (ITA) with 1:47.378. Second was the #11 GRT Grasser Racing Team of Heistand/Schothorst/Albert Costa and third to #47 of Precision Performance Motorsports’ duo of Gdovic/Lux.
#88 WRT Speedstar Audi Sport Audi R8 LMS GT3 placed seventh a mere 0.002s ahead of Pfaff Motorsports drivers Dennis Olsen/Zacharie Robichon/Lars Kern/Patrick Pilet. AIM Vasser Sullivan car #12 and #14 classified 12th and 15th respectively where as Heart Of Racing Team’s Roman De Angelis and teammates placed 14th.
With the first day of running completed, Daniel Morad (who confirmed yesterday he was to drive at the Sebring Twelve Hours in March, NDLR) seemed quite satisfied with the performance of the R8 LMS: “Overall the day went well apart from a small technical issue in the morning that was quickly resolved. Then after that it was a matter of getting used to working with a new team and a new driver line-up with sharing informations as to how we like the car’s handling. The second session ran smoother as we ran out in the front for the majority of the session and experimenting with the car balance and seeing where the tires are after a race run. It was a very positive day and I am happy with this new beginning.”
Definitely a better start to the Roar before the Rolex24 for Daniel as at this time last year. The team(Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3. NDLR) Daniel ran with was confronted with a certain top end speed deficit in its first outing. “Last year was a bit challenging as we had the EVO kit which was new to not only the team but Audi as well. It was so knew that we were experimenting a bit with it and now that this configuration has has a full season of running, we have a better understanding of the car and where it’s happy place is at so we’ve definitely hit the ground running this time.”
Saturday gets under way at 10:15 with three practice session scheduled plus a qualifying session for GTD and LMP2 class that will determine garage number for the Rolex24 weekend.
Image: Patrice Marchessault/PMstills Photography
Photographer & Editor