Daytona24: Turner Motorsports qualifying report

Turner Motorsports in Top 10 for Rolex 24 Hour GT Class
Sets the pace in final night session with fastest time in practice...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., 27 January - Looking to add yet another BMW M3 victory to his resume, Boris Said was the fastest of the non-Porsche/Camaro contingent in qualifying for the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal GT Class.

Posting the ninth best time of the day in the No. 94 Turner Motorsports NorthWest BMW M3, Said was the lone interloper in a string of Porsches and Camaros that runs down to 14th place in the 32-car GT field. Said broke into the top 10 with his No. 94 BMW on his eighth and final lap of the Daytona International Speedway road course to record a best time of 1:49.503 seconds.

"That's the fastest lap we've done so far, and we weren't even in the hunt, so I guess those Porsches and Camaro's have been sandbagging all along. But, the car feels great. I feel a little bad because I'm sure Bill (Auberlen) would have gone a bit faster," stated Said who shares the No.94 BMW with Paul Dalla Lana and Matt Plumb, in addition to Auberlen. "The way the car is set up, it's really smooth and comfortable. It's good for your ego to be in the top four or five, but speed in qualifying doesn't really mean anything in this race. What matters is reliability and drivers not making mistakes. If we can do that, we'll be moving up to the front."

The Rolex 24 marks the beginning of the Turner squad's sophomore season in Rolex Series competition. They opened the day by topping the charts in the first practice session followed by a seventh place in the second practice. Despite going even faster still in the qualifying session, they dropped a two more places in the grid-setting session, but are still confident for the twice around the clock race following a very productive night practice that saw the team top the charts.

"We had a feeling throughout testing and the early practice today that some of our competitors were holding back, and now we know they were. It's a 24 hour race so qualifying isn't that important, but on the other hand there is a significant gap tiem-wise. After 24 hour race if they can maintain that pace, we'll be in trouble. I'm looking at the pace of our car on long runs, and it really likes the Continental Tires, it's stable under braking and comfortable through the corners, which are all great attributes over the race distance," said team owner Wil Turner. "I'm not disappointed to miss out on the pole, though of course everyone would like to have it. We were out-horse powered today, but we've got a good race car."

The pace was also impressive at night, as the team rebounded from the qualifying session to score the fastest lap of the session in the night practice on Thursday, a good omen as the team prepares for a long weekend.

As usual, it was a very busy day for Turner Motorsports as the team will once again be looking for another victory at the "World Center of Speed" with the team's pair of BMW M3's in Continental Sports Car Challenge competition. Paul Dalla Lana ,sharing the No.96 with Bill Auberlen, went one better than the GT Series car to start tomorrow's Grand-Am 200 from the eighth position as the Canadian made significant improvement over his qualifying run at Daytona last year. The sister No.97 car driven by Michael Marsal and Joey Hand didn't get to show the car's full pace after suffering a fuel pressure problem at the start of the 15-minute qualifying session.

Marsal got two laps in before paying heed to the warnings on the dash, confirming his suspicion that something was amiss after just two part-power laps. He will start at the rear of the 30-car Grand Sport (GS) class field.

-source: tms

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Joey Hand , Matt Plumb , Paul Dalla Lana , Michael Marsal
Teams Turner Motorsport