SCC: Daytona: Turner Motorsport race report

Daytona Disappoints for Turner Motorsport; Tough Friday outing, but Rolex 24 At Daytona still awaits... (DAYTONA BEACH, FL) 29 January 2010 -- The 2010 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season-opening Fresh From Florida 200 did ...

Daytona Disappoints for Turner Motorsport; Tough Friday outing, but Rolex 24 At Daytona still awaits...

(DAYTONA BEACH, FL) 29 January 2010 -- The 2010 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season-opening Fresh From Florida 200 did not produce the same excitement for Turner Motorsport that it did a year ago when the team celebrated in the Daytona International Speedway Victory Lane at race's end.

Once again posting a potent car and driver line up that features both speed and upcoming talent as Paul Dalla Lana and last year's race winner, Bill Auberlen, teamed in the new No. 96 BMW M3 E92, with Michael Marsal and Joey Hand sharing the driving duties in the previous version No. 97 BMW M3 E46. Dalla Lana started ninth in the No. 96 with Marsal taking 16th on the grid in his debut qualifying effort at Daytona.

Marsal, a 2010 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge rookie, acquitted himself well in his first start for Turner Motorsport. He gained a few positions early on in his stint before a small mistake sent him back in the running order late in his run before pitting to turn the controls over to Hand.

"I was pretty happy with my stint, for it being my first time out and even though I was mad about how I blew the bus stop that one lap, I feel like this was a good way to start the season off," said Marsal. "I learned a lot and had fun today, but I am really looking forward to moving to the new V8 M3 next time out!"

A veteran BMW racer, Hand turned in yet another solid drive in his stint, working his way up to seventh with the checkered flag in sight. Unfortunately, close racing with one of the many Mustangs in the field left him with a flat tire and the duo had to accept a 13th place result.

"I was just pushing as hard as I could because our car was awesome in the infield-just handled great-but we were getting killed on the straights with everyone else having the V8's," said Hand. "It was a shame to lose those positions late in the day. But I'm really excited about working with Michael-I think he is going to be very strong, so I am looking forward to helping him this year. Especially when we get the new car!"

Unfortunately, it would be a short day for the No. 96 machine, as Dalla Lana began to lose oil pressure early in the race after having scored a top-ten spot on the 77-car grid. His progress was quickly slowed, though, and he was forced to the garage after just 11 laps, before Aublerlen got an opportunity to drive. The No. 96 was scored 73rd overall and 38th in the Grand Sport (GS) class.

"It is a bummer because right from the start we were not as healthy as we had been all weekend with this car, so you hate to not make it to the finish," said Dalla Lana as he emerged from the M3. "I could feel something wasn't right, so I had to just be smart and get the car back to the garage for the guys to have a look. But at least the weekend isn't over for me yet!"

While the Fresh From Florida 200 was a disappointment for the Turner squad, the team still has the opportunity to make the weekend a success when it debuts the striking yellow and blue No. 94 BMW M6 in GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Cask No. 16 in the grueling Rolex 24 At Daytona. Hand will start the race from 22nd on the grid and will share the ride with Dalla Lana, Auberlen and road racing stalwart Boris Said.

-source: turner motorsport

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