Magnussen secures Rolex 24 GTLM pole

January 25, 2018

Magnussen secures Rolex 24 GTLM pole

January 25, 2018

Jan Magnussen has qualified on pole position for Saturday’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, as the Dane used a mix of speed and team strategy at Corvette Racing to take the top spot on the grid.

Driving the No. 3 Corvette C7.R, Magnussen utilized a tow from Corvette teammate Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 car to lap the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway at a best time of 1:42.779.

“To be honest. I’m a little bit surprised that we found that kind of speed for qualifying, but a good lap paired with a massive tow from my teammate. Fantastic lap with fantastic help from Olly (Oliver Gavin). It helped me a lot. Being that close up front that for sure mattered.

“But the race is a different matter. This feels super great right now, but it comes down to that this really doesn’t matter at all. But it is to show everybody that the car is fast and we are on to something that worked.”

This is Magnussen’s first pole since Long Beach in 2017, and 20th of his sports car career.

That time was enough to deny Joey Hand the top spot in qualifying for a second straight year. Hand, who co-drove to victory with Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais in last year’s race aboard the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, was just 0.019 of a second back at 1:42.798.

Hand’s No. 66 Ford led the morning practice session while Porsche, which led the second practice session, clocked in third and fourth in qualifying with the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR ahead of the sister No. 911 car.

The second Ford and second Corvette were fifth and sixth, and with the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE in seventh, four of the five marques in the GT Le Mans class were separated by just 0.822 of a second.

Additionally, six cars eclipsed Hand’s 2017 pole time of 1:43.473, which had been a class record.

Both of the BMW Team RLL M8 GTEs made their first qualifying runs, and will begin their race tenures from eighth and ninth spot on the grid in class.

Overall, a thrilling battle for pole occurred between defending Prototype class champions Konica Minolta Racing and series returnees Acura Team Penske, with Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R edging the debuting No. 7 Acura ARX-05.

Renger van der Zande, Ricky Taylor’s replacement alongside brother Jordan, laid down a stunning 1:36.083 to edge Helio Castroneves by just 0.007 of a second in the No. 7 Acura, which he now shares with Ricky Taylor.

Daniel Serra took the No. 51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 to the GT Daytona class pole (1:46.049) ahead of the No. 82 Risi Ferrari, qualified by Miguel Molina.

The WeatherTech Championship has night practice later tonight from 6:30 to 8 p.m. ET, with fourth practice Friday morning (9:40 to 10:40 a.m.) the final session before Saturday’s race at 2:40 p.m. ET.

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