Westbrook Back Ahead In Final Rolex 24 Practice

by James Broomhead
Westbrook returned the Spirit of Daytona to the head of the times (Courtesy of IMSA)

Having led both of the first two practice sessions Richard Westbrook returned to the top of the times in the fourth and final practice for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship teams before the start of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The Briton lapped the 3.56 mile track in 1:39.256 aboard the Spirit of Daytona Racing Chevrolet Corvette DP that he will share with Michael Valiante and Mike Rockenfeller. In common with much of the practice and qualifying running the balance of power was held by the Corvette DPs with examples in the top three places.

The #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing car, put on pole position by Alex Gurney was second fastest, with the #5 Action Express Racing entry third fastest. The pair of Ford EcoBoost powered Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Riley Daytona Prototypes and the second of Action Express Racing Corvette’s completed the top six, covered by less than a second.

The pair of champions in the newly combined series – Wayne Taylor Racing and Muscle Milk Pickett Racing – were seventh and eighth fastest overall in the session.

Sam Bird continued his own strong showing on his Daytona debut, leading PC for Starworks Motorsport with a lap of 1:42.176, the best in class by nearly a second with the sister Starworks entry second fastest.

Matteo Malucelli showed a glimpse of the pace of the Risi Competizione Ferrari in GTLM, the team having been forced out of qualifying on Thursday afternoon by a gearbox problem in the #62. The #911 Porsche was second fastest, the pair of Corvette Racing cars third and fourth in the class, though only just within a second of Malucelli’s best time (1:45.007).

Milo Valverde was fastest in GTD in the #556 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458. However, with the top dozen (four Porsches, four Ferraris, two Audis, a BMW and an SRT Viper) covered by less than a second the class looks set to provide some close racing once the green flag flies at 2:10pm local time Saturday (7:10pm UK time).

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