Rolex 24 GTD class pole winner, others penalized (UPDATED)

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UPDATE (8:58 p.m. ET): Post-qualifying inspection failures have resulted in three cars having their Rolex 24 at Daytona qualifying times disallowed, including the GTD class pole-winning No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8.

Christopher Haase had taken the No. 48 to P1 on the GTD charts but IMSA officials found an unapproved rear wing endplate on the Audi and have subsequently sent it to the rear of the field for Saturday’s race.

Another quick GTD machine, the No. 46 Fall Line Motorsports Audi R8, has suffered the same fate because of a ride-height violation. The car had originally qualified third in the class.

Finally, the No. 78 Starworks Motorsport Prototype was popped in inspection for both a ride-height violation and the use of an unapproved aerodynamic device. Brendon Hartley had originally put the No. 78 third on both the overall and Prototype grids.

With all of that taken into account, the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia (GRAND-AM GT driver’s champion Alessandro Balzan/Toni Vilander/Jeff Westphal/Lorenzo Case) has been elevated to pole in GTD. Corsa’s sister Ferrari, the No. 65, is now second on the class grid, and the No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3 shall line up third.

As for the Prototype grid, everyone from fourth on back will now move up one position.

GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing took the overall and P class pole position in the hands of Alex Gurney, in the No. 99 Corvette DP. Before the penalty to the Starworks No. 78, Gurney’s lap of 1:38.270 led seven straight Daytona Prototypes, with the DeltaWing eighth in the hands of Katherine Legge and the fastest P2 car only 11th, 1.5 seconds behind the overall pole.

Colin Braun followed up his early pace in the day’s two practice sessions to earn the PC class pole in his No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09. Braun, a veteran of several Rolex 24s in DPs and GT cars, said he was adjusting to racing at Daytona with the expanded field of vision from an open cockpit car.

In GTLM, the No. 91 Viper GTS-R, driven by Marc Goossens, posted a flier of 1:44.506 to lead one of the factory Porsche 911s, the second Viper, the No. 4 Corvette C7.R and second Porsche in the class top five.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III