CTSCC: Michael Marsal to the podium in Daytona season opener

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After post-race technical inspection, the result grew even larger as the race-winning car was disqualified, moving Marsal to third on the final results.

Daytona Beach, Fla. - It can be good to come back home, and for Michael Marsal, his first race outing back as a Turner Motorsport driver brought an immediate reward as the young racer scored a podium result in the 2014 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge opener at Daytona International Speedway.

Sharing the driving duties in the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 with Tom Kimber-Smith, Marsal opened the weekend with a fair showing of speed as he qualified 10th on the grid despite only getting one green flag lap to log a time in Thursday’s 15-minute session for the BMW Performance 200.

#97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3: Michael Marsal, Tom Kimber-Smith
#97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3: Michael Marsal, Tom Kimber-Smith

Photo by: Trevor Horn

“The car felt really good and I think we are going in the right direction,” said Marsal. “It is great to have an M3 here at Daytona and of course it is good to be back with the Turner guys. Hopefully we can turn this into a good result on Friday.”

Marsal opened the race from behind the wheel on the fifth row, and after an early caution period arrived, took to pit lane for a quick service. The strategy call was an alternate from the rest of the field, but it put the team in good position for the close of the race. Marsal put his head down and moved up from 30th on lap 11 to run in the top-five before turning the car over to Kimber-Smith on lap 24.

The Briton was able to similarly make forward progress and was back in the top-five as a frantic fight for the lead emerged in the closing laps. A late yellow flag halted the progress as Kimber-Smith crossed the line in fourth.

“That was a great start to the season and some very good points in the bank for us,” said an enthused Marsal after the race. “The car was great and our stops were also good. I had a run-in with a Mustang on my first pit stop, but fortunately I stopped in time and didn't have any damage. I’m really happy and just ready to go again tomorrow.”

After post-race technical inspection, the result grew even larger as the race-winning car was disqualified, moving Marsal to third on the final results. He will now focus on his next challenge as he is set to race with 8Star Motorsports in the LMPC class in the 52nd running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“We had an issue before qualifying with the car but I think they’ve got it all sorted and we are hopefully good to go,” said Marsal, who will share the driving duties with Kimber-Smith, Rob Huff, and Enzo Potolicchio. “It is going to be a huge race and I’m really excited to see how it plays out with four classes and a lot of new cars. Starting with a strong result with Turner was the perfect way to get the weekend going and I just want to keep that momentum here in the 24!”

Michael Marsal Racing

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Series IMSA
Article type Race reports
Tags bmw, ctscc, daytona, imsa, michael marsal, tom kimber-smith