Photo: AXR

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Felipe Nasr was fastest during the Roar Before the 24 Qualifying session, in the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPI.VR. The fastest time gives them priority for the Daytona 24 pit allocation.

As expected, it was a Cadillac 1-2-3-4 as the Dallara based cars locked out the top of the timing sheets. The Cadillac runners had a significant advantage over the rest of the field, almost a full second clear of the next best. Spirit of Daytona were second, Mustang Sampling third and Wayne Taylor Racing fourth.

Acura were best of the rest, with the new AXR-05 qualifying fifth and sixth. The new Acura finally showing pace, but over a second off of the Cadillacs. Sand or no sand?

Pipe Derani managed the seventh fastest time in the Nissan DPi. The sister car, driven by Dalziel only managed sixteenth.

Also experiencing mixed results were Mazda. The #55, in the hands of Tincknell, was eighth but the #77 was down in 20th. The Riley, which the Mazda is based on, was eighteenth. The Riley does not yet have the full updates that it’s entitled to. The #85 Banana Boat and #99 Red Dragon set times together, with Simon Trummer lapping marginally faster than Stephen Simpson.

Despite strong running earlier in the weekend, the European teams didn’t fair as well. Alex Brundle was the highest qualifying in ninth for JCDC Jota. The sister car of Robin Frijns was down in thirteenth.

United Autosports sent out superstars Fernando Alonso and Bruno Senna in the #23 and #32 Ligiers, but only managed twelfth and fifteenth. A sneaky win is perhaps looking a bit far away for Fernando this time.

The qualifying session is new for the 2018 Roar Before the 24, and serves multiple purposes. The primary reason is to decide the pit allocation for the Rolex 24 at Daytona later this month.

The new qualifying session also acts as a sandbagging deterrent for the teams looking to game the system. IMSA has been clamping down on sandbagging, and parked the #93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX and the #71 P1 Mercedes AMG for violations during Saturday night.

A third benefit to the qualifying session is it stops the teams packing up early and leaving, giving the fans more exposure during the Roar test.

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GTLM – First Blood to Ford

The #66 Ford, driven by Joey Hand, was quickest in GTLM. The blue oval was 0.030 faster than the #4 Corvette of Oliver Gavin. Ryan Briscoe in the #67 Ford completed the top 3, just over a tenth off fastest.

The #912 Porsche was fourth, just over a quarter of a second off the pace. The #3 Corvette was fifth, and the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 was sixth.

BMW seemed to still be getting to grips with the new M8 GTLM. The BMWs qualified seventh and eighth fastest. Is the car proving troublesome, or does it have some sand onboard?

The #911 Porsche chose not to set a lap time.

GTD – GRT Grasser fastest

GRT Grasser Racing Team set the fastest time in GTD, 1:47.374 set by Mirko Bortolotti. The Lamborghini qualified less a tenth ahead of second placed Andy Lally for Magnus Racing.

Wright Motorsport had a strong running with Porsche factory driver Patrick Long, managing third place. Michael Shank Racing made it 4 different manufacturers in the top 4 places, as Alvaro Parente completed a lap a quarter of a second off the pace.

HART Racing made an impressive debut run with fifth, closely followed by 3GT in sixth. The Lexus team will be satisfied with a top 5 given the uncertainty over the winter months.

Other notable results include Land Motorsport in eigth, the GTD Risi entry in tenth and the Team Riley Mercedes AMG managing eleventh. The top 18 cars were within one second.

In GTD, the bottom 7 cars will not get the same higher quality garages as the rest of the grid. This fact makes it surprising that the Manthey Racing Porsche 911 and Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini did not set a time.

Engineering student, lover of all things technical and lifelong motorsport fan. Employed in the Oil & Gas Industry, developing Major Emergency Management simulations. Owner of the best beard on the site.