After a slow start in wet conditions in the first session of the day the first day of Rolex Series testing at the ‘Roar Before the 24’ ended with two defending Rolex 24 at Daytona champions setting the fastest times of the day.
Driving with #60 Ford-Riley for the team A.J. Allmendinger lapped the 3.56 mile Daytona International Speedway road course in 1:42.918 to beat defending Rolex Series champion Memo Rojas by just 0.045 seconds.
The pair led a top five filled by Riley chassis, MSR’s Ford powered version beating the pair of BMW engine Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates cars, Dario Franchitti setting the best time in the #02 car for third place.
Michael Shank Racing’s second car was fourth fastest, the better of the two Starworks Motorsport Ford-Riley fifth fastest. Spirit of Daytona Racing – sixth fastest, six tenths off the ultimate pace – were the best Chevrolet Corvette DP. Doran Racing were seventh fastest in their first sessions with the third generation Dallara DP.
Andy Lally – for 2012 Rolex 24 and North American Endurance Championship (NAEC) winner Magnus Racing was the fastest man in GT (1:49.322) in a Porsche top three ahead of Alex Job Racing and Konrad Motorsport entries.
Nick Tandy – in his first running since being named a Porsche works driver – was the fastest man in the class in the morning session for Konrad Motorsport with a best time of 2:05.183. Jamie McMurray was the fastest man overall (2:01.852) in the opening session as many teams limited themselves to just a handful of laps, or opted to stay off the track in the rain and the wet conditions which remained even though the track dried considerably in the second half of the session.
“The track was a little damp,” Allmendinger said, explaining that the surface remained a factor even into the afternoon session. “The race line, for the most part, was dry, but if you put a wheel wrong, especially early in the session, and got onto the wet, you had a chance to wreck the race car. There’s no need for that in the first 30 or 40 minutes into a test. It’s just about patience.”
Ryan Eversley and David Donahue were the fastest men in the morning and afternoon sessions respectively in the new GX class, Donahue setting the best time of the day in Napleton Racing’s Porsche Cayman.
Testing at Daytona continues tomorrow.