The Pole Award 100, the qualifying race that decides the starting grid for the 24 Hours of Daytona, took place on Sunday afternoon at the Daytona International Speedway. It ended with a fourth-place for the Ferrari of Risi Competizione in the GTLM class. This will allow the Ferrari to start from the second row in the GT Le Mans class, while in the GT Daytona class Scuderia Corsa took eighth and AF Corse sixteenth, badly damaged by a puncture.
Wet start. The rain stopped after the deluge in the hours before the start, but the asphalt was soaked in areas as the cars went out on track There were puddles in several areas of the track. Alessandro Pier Guidi, Simon Mann and Brett Curtis drove the first stint in the Ferraris. The Italian, who got off to a cautious start, held fifth while Mann carefully avoided any risk and dropped a few positions, as did Curtis. However, Pier Guidi found a decent pace and moved into third before the first Full Course Yellow, caused by multiple contacts between prototypes, ten minutes into the race.
FCY dominates proceedings. With Mann in ninth place and Curtis fifteenth, the race got going again with one hour and twenty minutes to go. However, it was interrupted by another Full Course Yellow after Christina Nielsen's Porsche ran off track during a frantic restart. At that point, everyone apart from Pier Guidi came in for the driver change and tyre replacement, made easier by an almost dry track.
Puncture. With fifty-five minutes to go, and the Italian leading the GTLM class, Nicklas Nielsen's 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of AF Corse limped back to the pits nursing a punctured tyre. It lost four laps for repairs to the damaged bodywork. In the meantime, the Risi Competizione pits jumped into action with Calado taking over from his teammate but the British driver, with cold tyres, lost control of the car returning to the track and, with it, the race lead. Ed Jones, who had replaced Curtis in the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari, drove up to ninth position in class before pitting with twenty minutes left on the clock.
Chequered flag. The last phase of the race saw no sensational twists and turns although Calado gained a position at the expense of the BMW of RRL in the GTLM class, finishing fourth in class and twenty-first overall. With this result, the 488 GTE of Risi Competizione will start from the second row in the race that sets off next Saturday at 3:40 pm local time, with the Corvette Racing no. 4 on pole.
On the other hand, in the GTD class, the eighth-place claimed by Jones and Curtis in the 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of Scuderia Corsa, puts the US team's Ferrari on the fourth row. AF Corse's car will have to start from the back of the grid, after finishing sixteenth in its category having lost four laps due to a puncture.
Towards the 24 Hours. The cars will rest and prepare over the next three days before they resume their run-up to the eagerly awaited US endurance marathon. Their engines will fire up again on Thursday 28 January with the first free practice.