24 gennaio 2019
The 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will open with the 57th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona this weekend, with Ferrari getting a fast start to the event in qualifying on Thursday.
Brazilian stock car champion Marcos Gomes captured the GT Daytona pole in qualifying for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, while Ferrari factory driver Davide Rigon posted the fourth-best time in the GT Le Mans category.
GTLM. Rigon ran a lap of 1:42.712 in the No. 62 Risi Competizione 488 GTE that will be co-driven by factory drivers Miguel Molina, Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado. Four different marques took the top four positions in class, underscoring the fierce competition in the category.
GTD. Driving for Via Italia Racing, Gomes led the three GTD Ferrari teams, qualifying on the pole with a track record lap of 1:45.257-seconds in the No. 13 Via Italia Racing Ferrari 488 GT3.
“Daytona is a very difficult track,” said Gomes, who gave Ferrari its third consecutive pole in the class. “The banking, the oval and the turns are very difficult to do, along with the banking in Turn 1. I’m very happy - the team did a great job with the setup. This is a difficult race, and GTD is the most difficult class, with the most cars and the most competitive, too. It will be very difficult for all the drivers and all the cars. Now, let’s go to the race - and let’s fight for the win.”
Mathias Lauda was sixth, running 1:45.852 in the No., 51 Spirit of Race entry. Sixteenth in the 23-car class was Cooper MacNeil, with a lap of 1:46.321 in the No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari 488GT3. Daniel Serra, who is part of the Spirit of Race Ferrari lineup, held the former class record with a lap of 1:46.049, set in 2018 qualifying.
GTD teams were mandated using either a Silver- or Bronze-rated driver in qualifying, who must also start the race.
Weekend Schedule. Friday’s lone activity for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be a one-hour final practice, beginning at 10 a.m. ET.
The 57th Rolex 24 At Daytona takes the green flag at 2:35 p.m. ET on Saturday. Prior to the race, all drivers will participate in a 45-minute autograph session beginning at noon. Then the pit road will be open to spectators for the Fan Walk, which begins at 1:10 p.m. Driver introductions will take place at 1:35 p.m., followed by opening ceremonies featuring Grand Marshal Scott Pruett at 2:15 p.m