Renger van der Zande and Wayne Taylor Racing have scored pole position for the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona after an intense Prototype qualifying session.
The Duthcman stormed to the top spot on his last lap in the 15-minute hit out to claim pole by 0.007s over Helio Castronevas, who was shattered after having his lap beaten by van der Zande while he sat on pit road, seemingly confident his own lap would clinch him pole.
In what turned into a frantic shootout between almost half of the prototype field, only 0.848s separated the top ten at the checkered flag.
While Castronevas was shuffled to second in the #7 Acura Team Penske, Felipe Albuquerque managed to clinch third in the #5 Action Express Cadillac and Pat O’ Ward grasped fourth in the #38 Performance Tech Oreca.
Things didn’t go so well for a few teams though, most notably the #22 Tequila Patrón of Nicolas Lapierre who locked up under braking for the Horseshoe and ran straight on into the tyre barrier just 5-minutes into the session.
Lapierre was able to get going again, however major front left suspension damage from the incident meant he had to park the car up in an escape road.
5mins in and the #22 of Lapierre in the wall at the Horseshoe, locked up under braking. Suspension damage to the left front.
The #90 of Tristan Vautier also had a trip through the grass, avoiding the wall, while Felipe Nasr also had to pull his #31 Cadillac off the road with a technical drama.
Fernando Alonso only managed 13th in the #23 United Autosports Ligier after explaining earlier in the day that the team were ‘struggling with outright performance’.
Van der Zande and co-drivers Jordan Taylor and Ryan Hunter-Reay will start from the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s Rolex 24 at Daytona which gets underway at 5:40am QLD time/6:40am NSW/Vic time.
GT Le Mans – GTLM:
Jan Magnussen set the quickest time in the GTLM Qualifying session to put the #3 Corvette on pole for co-drivers Antonio Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller.
The Chevrolet driver punched the first competitive lap time in at 1:43.223 before improving a lap later to a 1:42.779 which ultimately ended up being the pole-sitting time.
0.019s behind Magnussen’s lap in second was the #66 Ford GT of Joey Hand, with Laurens Vanthoor qualifying the #912 Porsche in third ahead of team-mate Patrick Pilet in the #911 fourth.
Toni Vilander in the Risi Competitzione was seventh, while the two BMW M8s of Alexander Sims and John Edwards occupied the last two spots in class respectively, with the latter 1.6s off the pole time.
“We’ll go back and look at the data…as long as the cars reliable and we get to the end of the race,” admitted Bill Auberlen.
GT-Daytona – GTD:
Daniel Serra claimed the first pole position for the 2018 season aboard the #51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 which he shares with Mathias Lauda, Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana.
The Brazilian driver set a 1:46.049 to put the car on top of the timing sheets while Miguel Molina made it a Ferrari one-two in second for Risi Competizione.
Mirko Bortolotti popped his #11 Grasser Racing Lamborghini into third in the closing stages of the session ahead of the #15 Lexus of Jack Hawksworth in fourth and Alessandro Balzan fifth in the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari.