@IMSA •DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 28 2016) – Inclement weather doesn’t stop sports cars from racing – or qualifying. Proper tires, some extra resolve, and you’re off and running. Which meant Thursday’s Rolex 24 At Daytona qualifying went on as scheduled, with Russian driver Nikhail Aleshin taking the pole in the headlining Prototype class in the No. 37 Nissan BR01 Prototype.
Negotiating a wet track throughout a 15-minute Prototype class session that wrapped up the 90-minute session that encompassed all four IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship classes, Aleshin turned a fast lap of 2 minutes, 5.793 seconds/101.882 mph on the 3.56-mile DIS road course.
In a rare occurrence that could be partially attributed to the weather, the fastest qualifying time actually was posted by a production-based car – a Porsche 911 RSR driven by Nick Tandy. His 2:01.408/105.561 lap led the GT Le Mans class. IMSA groups cars by class to start the race, meaning the Prototypes will lead the field to the green flag.
The twice-around-the-clock endurance classic – the season-opening event for the WeatherTech Championship – starts at 2:40 p.m. (ET) Saturday, with 54 entries.
“To be on the pole for the Rolex 24 is a great feeling and it’s a great result for all of us [on our team] and our racing family,” Aleshin said.
The other two class pole winners on Thursday:
· Prototype Challenge: Johnny Mowlem, 2:05.708/101.951 in the No. 20 ORECA FLM09.
· GT Daytona: Norbert Siedler, 2:05.798/101.878 in the No. 73 Porsche GT3 R.
In addition to the Rolex 24, the BMW Performance 200 will be held on Friday, opening the season for the production car-based IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. The overall and Grand Sport pole was won by the sibling team of Hugh and Matt Plumb, co-drivers of the No. 13 Porsche 997. Hugh Plumb was at the wheel during qualifying, posting a fast lap of 2:12.492/96.730. The Street Tuner class pole went to the team of Robin Liddell and Elliott Skeer. The fast lap of 2:17.340/93.316 was posted by Skeer in the No. 8 Porsche Cayman.
Tickets for the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
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