SMP on pole as the rain pours.

Poor weather conditions caused a fair bit of havoc for the WeatherTech qualifying session earlier tonight.

The session which set the grid for the 2016 Rolex24 @ Daytona saw Russian team  SMP Racing place the teams own developed BR01 LMP2 car to pole position, piloted by Indycar regular Mikhail Aleshin.

The session wasn’t quite so straightforward however, with rain intensifying as the qualifying session progressed through the classes, the fastest times of the session therefore became set by the GTLM field, rather the later run Prototype field.

IMSA therefore had to invoke the clause to allow the prototype field to lead the race away on Saturday. Alongside the BR01 which in addition to Aleshin, is piloted by Kirill Ladygin, Nic Minassian and Maurizio Mediani, is the ESM-Honda run Ligier JS P2, piloted by relatively recent ESM signing, Pipo Derani in this session meaning that the P2 entrants lock out the front of the grid. Meanwhile in PC, BAR1 motorsports took the class pole, with Johnny Mowlem at the wheel.

In GTLM, it was the Porsche North America, and effective fastest overall car in qualifying. The #911 entrant is driven by Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy and Kevin Estre. In GTD, Park Place Motorsports gave Porsche the clean sweep of the GT ranks of qualifying.

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Really happy for Aleshin. It’s good to see him back in a race car and doing well. I wish the Ford GT was quicker, though.

Tom Firth

It might be in the race, early days and wet weather. Dry weather may change the order for them some what. Got another practice session coming up today and weather looks improved for the race.