Russian team shines in rain at Daytona, captures pole for 54th Rolex 24 at Daytona in BR01 prototype
Daytona Beach, Fla. (Jan. 28, 2016) – Russian IndyCar driver Mikhail Aleshin overcame extremely wet conditions to capture the Prototype class TOTAL Pole Award for the 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Aleshin ran a lap of 2:05.793 (101.882 mph) in the Nissan-powered No. 37 BR01 fielded by Russian-based SMP Racing. The Prototype debuted in 2015 ELMS competition and is racing in North America for the first time.
”I think the conditions were surprising for everyone,” Aleshin said. “During qualifying I was never sure while braking for any turn if I was going to be on the optimal line and not hitting the wall – but this is racing. You have to take risks sometimes. But at the same time, you’ve got to save the car and keep it in one piece. The race is the most important thing.”
Luís Felipe "Pipo" Derani backed up his fastest lap of the recent Roar Before the Rolex 24 test by running the second fastest lap in the Prototype class at 2:06.304 (101.469 mph) in the No. 2 Tequila Patrón ESM Honda Ligier JS P2.
Ozz Negri was third in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Tire Kingdom Honda Ligier JS P2, posting a best time of 2:07.432 (100.571 mph). He will be joined on the second row by Ricky Taylor, who turned a best lap of 2:07.966 (100.152 mph) in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta Corvette DP.
Mowlem Captures Second Consecutive Daytona PC Pole For BAR1 Motorsports
Johnny Mowlem captured his second-consecutive Prototype Challenge (PC) TOTAL Pole Award at Daytona for the Rolex 24, running a lap of 2:06.312 (101.951 mph) in the No. 20 BAR1 Motorsports Zoolander/Southwest Realty Advisors/Top 1 Oil ORECA FLM09. He will share the car with NASCAR veteran Brendan Gaughan, as well as Marc Drumwright, Tomy Drissi and Ricardo Vera.
“I had a really great qualifying last year and it came down to the final lap,” Mowlem said. “The conditions today were absolutely dreadful; I was actually getting sideways on the banking. So it shows how hard it is with the PC cars.
“We were here at the Roar (Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona test), and I was particularly happy with the car. I wasn’t able to work on the race setup like I wanted. We’ll be double and triple stinting into the night, and in the dry we might not be looking after the rear tires as well. CORE autosport has done a little bit more testing and running, so it could be tough if we go dry for the whole time.”
Stephen Simpson qualified second with a lap of 2:07.413 (100.586 mph) in the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports entry, followed by Ryan Eversley at 2:07.485 (100.529 mph) in the No. 26 BAR1 Motorsports Case-It/Southwest Funding/advisors.com ORECA.
• Teams opting to sit out the wet qualifying session were the No. 0 Panoz DeltaWing Racing coupe, the defending PC class-winning No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Professional Security Consultants/Prisma/Vista Del Mar ORECA FLM09 and the defending two-time PC champion and 2014 Rolex 24-winning No. 54 CORE autosport Flex-Box/Composite Resources ORECA FLM09.
• Ricky Taylor, No. 10 Konica-Minolta Corvette DP: “It was the wettest qualifying I’ve ever done and it was just a matter of who was willing to take the most risk. We decided to come in with about three-and-a-half minutes to go in the session because I didn’t want to do one more lap than I had to – I just wasn’t in control of the car in the straights. We just got a clean lap when the conditions were the best – or, should I say, the least bad. I think the race is going to be an altogether different story, although I can say we also have a good car in the dry. We have the best team and this is better than we’ve started here the last couple of years. This is hopefully the end of the rain for the rest of the weekend. I’m glad that session is over.”
• Television coverage of Saturday’s race will begin at 2 p.m. ET on FS1.