Daytona 24: Negri Leads Shortened First Practice

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Oswaldo Negri Jr set the fastest lap during a wet opening practice session for the Daytona 24 Hours.

The Brazilian’s 1:54.807s effort aboard the Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2-HPD came late in the session, beating the second placed Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 of Toni Vilander by 0.271s.

Practice was halted with five minutes remaining after the Change Racing Lamborghini Huracan collided with the barrier at Speedway Turn 4.

Risi Competizione led a string of eight GT Le Mans cars that made up the majority of the overall top ten, as the damp conditions masked the true performance of the runners.

Third quickest was the Porsche 911 RSR driven by Fred Makowiecki, who pedalled the car he shares with Michael Christensen and Earl Bamber to a 1:55.267s best. ‘Mako’ was followed closely by James Calado in the SMP Racing Ferrari 488, while Dirk Werner rounded out the overall top five in the #25 BMW M6 GTLM.

The #4 Corvette C7.R, #911 Porsche, #66 Ford GT and #3 Corvette completed the GTLM list in that order.

Second in Prototype and tenth overall was the SMP Racing BR01 Nissan which recorded a 1:56.333s with Nicolas Minassian at the wheel. The Russian squad was followed by another LMP2, this time the Mazda of Tristan Nunez, who registered a 1:56.691s effort to go third in class.

VisitFlorida Racing was the quickest of the Daytona Prototype runners, submitting a session-best time of 1:56.726s with Ryan Dalziel at the wheel.

Prototype Challenge saw only four cars set flying laps during the hour-long session after a number of teams opted to skip the morning.

The class was ultimately led by Ryan Lewis in the #26 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09. Lewis’ time of 2:00.221s put him 1.6s clear of Johnny Mowlem, driver of the sister #20 BAR1 machine.

GTD was extremely tight at the top, but a late charge from Matt McMurray in the #73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 91 GT3 decided the final look of the class order. The young American driver set a time of 2:02.249s to create a slim gap of 0.03 seconds between his car the second placed Dodge Viper GT3R of Jeroen Bleekemolen.

Third in GTD went to the #51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 458 Italia, while the #97 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 and #44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 GT3 finished fourth and fifth respectively.

The second of four practice sessions is scheduled to take place at 13:20 Eastern Time.

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