Most of the teams assembled on-site this weekend at Daytona International Speedway expected to get some dry running under their belts on Thursday, if not before qualifying, then after it during the 90-minute night practice session. Unfortunately, that did not come to pass.
Rain that had been falling since prior to qualifying continued to pelt down upon the 3.56 mile infield road course as teams went out to get their only practice in the dark. Due to the conditions, the GT-Le Mans Series cars once again topped the charts.
This time, it was Corvette Racing‘s Jan Magnussen who turned in the fastest lap of the session with a time of 2:05.881 (101.810) on his fourth lap on-track. That time was almost 2.5 seconds faster than Augusto Farfus in BMW Team RLL‘s No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM. The No. 4 Corvette was third fastest, another seven-tenths back.
Most of the Prototype class chose to take the session off, given the conditions. Only four of the 13 Prototypes entered registered official laps. The fastest of these teams was the Highway to Help organization. Veteran driver Dorsey Schroeder turned in a lap of 2:14.193 (95.504 mph). The team had not turned in a lot of laps on Thursday, so the 21 laps they did turn in are crucial for the race.
Katherine Legge had the second fastest time for Panoz DeltaWing Racing in a quick four-lap shakedown. Those laps were the first timed laps of the day for the svelte prototype as they only shook the car down in opening practice, then sat out qualifying. Maurizio Mediani was third fastest in class in the pole winning No. 37 SMP Racing BR01-Nissan.
Prototype Challenge saw Stephen Simpson top the charts in the JDC/Miller MotorSports No. 85 with a lap of 2:19.275 (92.019 mph), roughly 14 seconds off the best times in qualifying as the track was completely soaked during the session. John Falb was second quickest in the No. 26 from BAR1 Motorsport, while Jose Gutierrez was third fastest in the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports No. 52.
GT-Daytona saw Magnus Racing‘s René Rast top the charts in the No. 44 Audi R8 LMS GT3 with a lap of 2:10.208 (98.427 mph). That lap was good enough for fourth overall of the 34 teams that set times. The lap was nearly 2.2 seconds faster than V8 Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen in the Alex Job Racing No. 22 Porsche in second. Lawson Aschenbach was third fastest in Stevenson Motorsports‘ No. 6 Audi R8 LMS GT3.
Teams have one more practice session at 10:25 a.m. Friday morning for an hour. With a number of drivers yet to get in their cars this weekend, it will be like a land rush.
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