Surprise pole sitter at rain soaked Daytona

Mikhail Aleshin took SMP Racing to pole

Mikhail Aleshin took SMP Racing to pole

Russian team SMP Racing will lead the field to the green flag at the Daytona 24 Hours after scoring pole in a rain hit qualifying.

Former IndyCar driver Mikhail Aleshin proved the fastest of the prototype runners aboard the team’s BR Engineering BR01, clocking 2:05.71s in the slippery conditions.

While six GTLM cars went quicker in dry weather during their earlier session, IMSA rules dictate that the Prototype cars start at the front of the field.

Aleshin is set to share the pole winning car in the race with Nic Minassian, Maurizio Mediani and Kirill Ladygin.

Tequila Patron ESM’s Ligier will line up second thanks to the efforts of Pipo Derani, whose best time was good enough for just 12th outright.

The #60 Mike Shank Racing Ligier and #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette make up the second row, with the latter the first of the Daytona Prototypes.

Qualifying’s fastest time went to Brit Nick Tandy, who recorded a 2:01.41s best to best Porsche team-mate Frederic Makowiecki to the GTLM pole by almost second.

Australian Ryan Briscoe’s Ford ended up just 10th in GTLM, one place behind the Ganassi team’s sister entry.

Shane van Gisbergen’s Porsche will meanwhile start third in GTD thanks to the efforts of lead driver Leh Keen.

Fellow Porsche runners Park Place Motorsport took the GTD pole through driver Norbert Seidler ahead of Marc Basseng in the Konrad Lamborghini Hurracan.

CLICK HERE for the full qualifying result.

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