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Michelin Pilot Challenge

Bleekemolen Tops Wet First Practice at Daytona

Jeroen Bleekemolen was quickest in Michelin Pilot Challenge Practice 1 at Daytona…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

Jeroen Bleekemolen set the pace in wet conditions in the first Michelin Pilot Challenge running of the weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

The Dutchman’s best lap of 2:02.377 in the No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 checked in 0.819 seconds faster than second-place Mike Skeen in the No. 2 Audi R8 LMS GT4 for Ave Motorsports. Murillo Racing’s Eric Foss completed the top three in his Mercedes.

The TCR class led by series debutante Ryan Norman for Bryan Herta Autosport. The Indy Lights race winner turned in the best lap of the hour-long session with a lap of 2:10.131 in his Hyundai Veloster N TCR.

A mere 0.045 seconds back was Max Faulkner in the No. 23 Audi RS 3 LMS TCR for Fast MD, with Ben Waddell third for Forty7 Motorsports.

The session began in damp conditions with increasing rainfall over the course of the running.

The No. 74 Forty7 Motorsports Hyundai Veloster N TCR of AJ Muss was involved in the lone incident of the session when the car slid off track and into a tire barrier.

Only 35 of the 51 entered cars elected to turn laps with many entrants electing to sit out the session. There is no rain in the forecast for the rest of the week.

The team reported that the damage was not severe and would be repairable in time to continue on Thursday.

This marked the only on-track running of the day for Pilot Challenge teams, with Practice 2 scheduled for 9 a.m. local time Thursday morning.

RESULTS: Practice 1

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based journalist and sportscaster, covering IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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