THE DUO OF FELIPE NASR/PIPO DERANI CAME FROM FIFTH TO WIN POLE FOR THE START OF THE ROLEX 24 NEXT WEEKEND
IMSA came out with a new concept to award pole position for the different categories in this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. Consisting of a 100 minutes race instead of the usual 15 minutes qualifying we are accustomed to during the Rolex 24 weekend.
To make it interesting, points were to be awarded depending where you would finish this “qualifying” race. Needless to say, the teams committed to the full season had to take it seriously and at the same time stay clear of any contacts that could spell disaster for the preparation for the big race.
For the start, everyone were equipped with wet tires as there was light rain falling over Daytona International Speedway. shortly after the start, the rain stopped and quickly the track started drying out.
Before the cars would come in make the switch onto the Michelin slick compound, two full course yellow occurred. After that, it was all a question of strategy.
As usual it was a tight field in DPi but once Felipe Nasr took control of the race, Pipo Derani simply had to stay in front and out of trouble to race to the checkered flag while keeping a charging Thinknell at bay and winning by 3.664 seconds over the #55 Mazda Motorsports of Oliver Jarvis and Harry Thincknell. Third place went to Tristan Vautier/Loic Duval in the #5 Mustang Sampling / JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi 4.6 seconds adrift.
There was also a great battle for positions early on in GTD as the wet Daytona track made it for some nice passing maneuvers. Having started fifth, Zach Robichon made his way up to third at one point and after the mandatory 30 minutes minimum driving segment handed the Pfaff Motorsports Motul Porsche 911 GT3 R to regular season teammate Laurens Vanthoor. For the remainder of the race, Vanthoor fought for a podium finish with eventual winner Bill Auberlen in the #96 Turner Motorsports BMW M6 GT3 and Mirko Bortolotti driving the #111 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
Roman De Angelis ran with the leaders for a good part of his stint after taking over form teammate Ian James but then fell down the order towards the latter part of the race to finish seventh, one lap down. Another good showing, initially, was from Daniel Morad who started the race for #28 Alegra Motorsports and his great abilities in wet conditions help him move up the order quickly after having started form the back of the GTD field following an unfortunate accident in qualifying yesterday. Although the team ran into trouble, loosing three laps, that was a great comeback from them.
Mikaël Grenier did not take part in this 100 minutes race for SunEnergy1 Racing as Kenny Habul and Raffaele Marciello were the two drivers for this race. This team, although finishing 11th and over two laps down, looks pretty solid when you look at their pace. For the time being, this team is only participating in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
See full results here
- 1- #52 B. Keating / M. Jensen PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2
- 2- #20 D. Andersen High Class Racing ORECA LMP2 1 Lap
- 3- #8 J. Farano / G. Aubry Tower Motorsport ORECA LMP2 1 Lap
- 1- #6 M. Kranz / L. Hoerr Muehlner Motorsports America Duqueine D08
- 2- #7 M. Kvamme / R. Norman Forty7 Motorsports Duqueine D08 1 Lap
- 3- #54 J. Bennett / G. Kurtz Core Motorsport Ligier JS P320. 1 Lap
The teams and drivers will now focus on preparations for the Rolex 24 as they only have 3 days to get ready for the first practice session to be held on Thursday morning. There are four practice session scheduled between Thursday and Friday leading to the Rolex 24 at Daytona to start at 3:40pm Eastern time on Saturday.
Image: Courtesy IMSA
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