Simon Pagenaud Leads Rolex 24 Night Practice For Team Sahlen

by James Broomhead
Pagenaud led the way in the only night running at Daytona before the Rolex 24 itself (Photo Credit: Grand-Am)

After the quick fire 15 minute qualifying sessions the teams of the Rolex Series’ Rolex 24 at Daytona had a rather slower-paced end to Thursday running at Daytona International Speedway with two hours of night practice.

For the first time in the weekend Team Sahlen – a new team to the Daytona Prototype class in 2013 having previously raced in the GT ranks – that ended the session fastest, Simon Pagenaud setting a lap time of 1:41.673 in the #42 BMW-Riley he will share with Wayne Nonnamaker and Dane Cameron for the race.

After the two Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates cars locked out the front row in qualifying Dario Franchitti was second fastest in their #02 BMW-Riley. However, the #01 that took the pole under the control with Scott Pruett was absent from the track for the full session, the team swapping chassis – outwardly purely as a precaution.

Allan McNish was third fastest in the #2 Starworks Motorsport Ford-Riley, as the Riley chassised cars took the top four places on the timesheets, Doran Racing’s Ford-Dallara fifth quickest.

Nick Tandy followed up his pole position taking performance by pacing the GT class in the session in the Konrad Motorsport/Orbit run Porsche GT3 with a best lap of 1:47.897 . Charles Espenlaub was second fastest in Magnus Racing’s #45 Porsche, with 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Toni Vilander third fastest in the R.Ferri/AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 he shares with Giancarlo Fisichella, Max Papis and Jeff Segal.

Another man to have clinched the class pole from qualifying – Shane Lewis in Napleton Racing’s GX class Porsche Cayman – returned to the top of the times in the class, though at only two seconds clear of BGB Motorsports’ Ryan Eversley the gap at the end of the session was far smaller than in qualifying.

Behind the two Caymans Jonathan Bomarito was the fastest of the Mazda 6 in the class, though his best lap was over five seconds off Lewis’.


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