Daytona Finale: Doran-Lista Thursday report

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Oct. 30 - Bill Auberlen posted the third-fastest speed overall and second-fastest in the Daytona Prototype class during the second round of practice for the Grand American Champions Weekend Rolex Series race Thursday at...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Oct. 30 - Bill Auberlen posted the third-fastest speed overall and second-fastest in the Daytona Prototype class during the second round of practice for the Grand American Champions Weekend Rolex Series race Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in the Doran-Lista DORAN JE4 Toyota #27.

The other DORAN JE4 entered in the race, the Bell Motorsports Chevy #54, slipped ahead of Auberlen on the scoring monitors in the last few minutes of the session. Its best lap was run in 1:49.360 (107.644 mph) to Auberlen's 1:49.694 (107.317 mph).

The Derhaag Motorsports Corvette GTS car of Simon Gregg and Justin Bell was fastest for the session and the day with a lap in 1:49.318 (107.688 mph).

The Doran-Lista team was tenth-fastest in the first session.

"We made a lot of progress this afternoon," Auberlen, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., said after the afternoon session. "It was typical Doran-Lista Racing work; they went back over the data and came up with solutions that worked. Everything is fine; the car is running very well; the electronics are great; the brakes are great; the Goodyear tires are great; everything. We're just continuing to work to make it handle better. That's the most important thing here at Daytona."

The team's lead driver, Didier Theys of Scottsdale, Ariz.,, sees a lot of similarities to this weekend so far with the work the team did here at the end of the 2001 season, right before it won the 2002 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

"It's a similar situation to where we were with the Dallara at the end of the 2001 season," he noted. "And just like then the track is very slippery too. The road course hasn't been used much since the last time we were here, and it's very slippery. But this weekend so far has been very much like that weekend in 2001. We weren't as fast as we wanted to be in practice but by qualifying we were in good shape. Hopefully that will be the case this year too, and we made a lot of improvement this afternoon. We have just been working to make the balance better."

Team owner Kevin Doran was pleased with the team's progress by the end of the day.

"Last session was much better than this morning's session," he said. "This afternoon the car responded to our changes in the way we expected it to. Now we're in the game."

There is one more hour of practice tomorrow (Friday) at 9 a.m. before qualifying at 11:15 a.m.

Saturday's 250-mile/70-lap/2-hour-and-45-minute race is slated to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday. It will be broadcast live on SPEED.

-dlr/lm-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Didier Theys , Bill Auberlen , Justin Bell , Simon Gregg , Kevin Doran