Vautier, Cadillac lead Rolex night practice

Vautier, Cadillac lead Rolex night practice

IMSA

Vautier, Cadillac lead Rolex night practice

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Tristan Vautier ran the fastest lap of Thursday’s 90-minute night practice for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, running 1m37.215s in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPi-V.R.

After being denied the pole by a scant .007s in afternoon qualifying, Helio Castroneves held the top spot for most of the session with a lap of 1m37.413 in the No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05. Once again, he wound up second. Pipo Derani was third (+0.302s) in the No. 22 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi, a car that was damaged only hours earlier when co-drive Nicolas Lapierre had an off-course excursion into a tire barrier during qualifying.

Lando Norris ran a 1m37.557s before turning the No. 23 United Autosports Ligier JSP217-Gibsion over to Fernando Alonso.

Fords ran 1-2 in GTLM, with Sebastien Bourdais running 1m43.675s in the No 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Ford GT, followed by teammate Richard Westbrook, 1m43.859s in the No, 67 Ford.

Mirko Bortolotti led GTD with a lap of 1m47.513s in the No. 11 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3. Bortolotti qualified third in class but will start at the back of the grid as the car failed the required post-qualifying stall test due to a broken part.

Sam Bird was second in GTD, 1m47.574s in the No. 64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3.

The fourth-qualifying No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA 07-Gibson brought out a brief red flag late in the session when Kyle Masson ran out of fuel and needed a tow.

The session was also briefly red flagged with 12 minutes remaining when Gustavo Menezes cut a right-rear tire entering Speedway Turn 2. He managed to keep the No. 99 JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA 07-Gibson under control and avoided contact in the high-speed incident.

Jordan Taylor had a scare at the beginning of the session with a brief off-course excursion in the infield, driving the pole-winning No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R on cold tires. Taylor kept his composure and continued, and went straight to the top of the chart on his first timed lap.

One of the 50 cars missed the session, with the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest Mazda RT-24P in the garage for an engine change. The No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi also changed engines after experiencing a problem in the second practice session, missing the opening 30 minutes of night practice.

The WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competitors will have only one additional hour of practice, with a Friday session beginning at 9:40 a.m. ET. The Rolex 24 green flag drops at 2:40 p.m. ET on Saturday.

NEXT UP: Final practice, Friday 9:40-10:40 a.m. ET.

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