By Johan Laubscher
The official 24 Hours of Daytona track action got underway on Thursday. Two practice sessions preceded the four individual class qualifying sessions and a third practice session later in the evening. The Audi teams showed good pace in all of the sessions, but it turned out to be a day of ups and downs.
The first practice session saw the #46 Fall-Line Motorsports Audi R8 LMS of Charles Espenlaub, Oliver Jarvis, Charlie Putman and James Walker topping the GTD class time sheets. The next Audi in the times was that of Paul Miller Racing with the #48 R8 LMS of Matthew Bell, Christopher Haase, Bryce Miller and René Rast in thirteenth. GMG Racing placed nineteenth with Marc Basseng, Frank Stippler, James Sofronas and Alex Welch in the #32 Audi R8 LMS. Flying Lizard Motorsports' two R8 LMS cars, numbers 35 and 45, finished twentieth and twenty-fifth. The #35 is driven by Filipe Albuquerque, Seth Neimann, Alessandro Latif and Dion von Moltke, and the #45 by Nelson Canache Jr, Tim Pappas, Spencer Pumpelly and Markus Winkelhock.
Qualifying was up next and highlighted by Paul Miller Racing taking pole position in the GTD class and Fall-Line Motorsports taking third within GTD. The celebrations were however short lived, as both of the two front running Audi cars were disqualified for technical infringements and will have to start from the back of the grid.
Paul Miller Racing was disqualified due to a problem with their rear wing end plates and Fall-Line Motorsports' ride height was at fault.
The Audi teams also performed well in the third practice session held on Thursday evening. Three of the Audis placed within the top ten, with Flying Lizard Motorsports #45 and #35 placing seventh and ninth, sandwiching #46 Fall-Line Motorsports in eighth. Paul Miller Racing #48 was thirteenth and GMG Racing #32 was twenty-fifth.
The results can be seen via these links:
First practice session HERE.
Second practice session HERE.
GTD qualifying session HERE.
The big news yesterday was the pole position and subsequent disqualification of Paul Miller Racing's #48 Audi R8 LMS. Christopher Haase's GTD pole time was penalised following a technical infringement with the car's rear wing end plates. Since then the IMSA supervisory officials have reviewed the case. It was announced on Friday that Paul Miller Racing's pole position was reinstated and the penalty rescinded.
Photo credit: Audi Communications - Motorsport