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Albuquerque Paces Night Practice in Slippery Conditions

Wayne Taylor Racing’s Albuquerque fastest in damp Daytona night practice session…

Photo: IMSA

Filipe Albuquerque set Wayne Taylor Racing on top of the pile in a damp and slippery Thursday evening practice session for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Defending race winner Albuquerque posted a time of 1:48.730 in the No. 10 Acura ARX-05, shortly after the one-hour mark in the 105-minute session.

Rainfall just before the initial green flag and during the early stages of the session created track conditions that didn’t invite drivers to push the limits of their cars.

56 of the 61 entered cars took part with KCMG, BMW Team RLL’s No. 25 crew, both The Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3s and Team TGM opting to skip proceedings.

Albuquerque led the way by a 0.733-second margin over Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac driver Alex Palou, who made a couple of improvements with around 20 minutes to go.

Both Albuquerque and Palou jumped ahead of Tom Blomqvist in the Meyer Shank Racing Acura, whose 1:49.583 effort stood as the mid-session benchmark.

Luca Ghiotto set the pace in LMP2 with a time of 1:49.587 aboard the No. 69 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 Gibson.

Ghiotto was the only LMP2 driver to break the 1m 50s barrier, as Tower Motorsport’s Ferdinand Habsburg and DragonSpeed’s Patricio O’Ward finished second and third.

Ugo de Wilde was the fastest driver in LMP3 driving for Duqueine D08 Nissan operator Muehlner Motorsports.

The Belgian teenager managed a 1:56.933 in the tricky conditions and was almost two seconds clear of his nearest competitor in the category.

Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos led both the GTD Pro and GTD classes courtesy of lap times from Daniel Juncadella and Raffaele Marciello.

Juncadella paced the Pro division with a 1:58.431 figure in the No. 97 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG and was backed up by SunEnergy1 Racing’s Marciello who scaled the GTD order with a 1:58.579.

Most of the leading GT times came during the early stages of the session, except Marciello’s attempt which displaced T3 Motorsport Lamborghini driver Franck Perera from the top of the leaderboard.

Matt Campbell ranked second in GTD Pro and third outright in the Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, with Perera next in the order ahead of fellow Lamborghini ace Andrea Caldarelli of GTD Pro entrant TR3 Racing.

The only red flag of the session occurred after 29 minutes when LMP2 driver Dennis Andersen and GTD driver Bill Sweedler rotated at the exit of Turn 1 and Turn 6 respectively.

Other drivers had minor off-track moments in the slippery conditions but the circuit remained green for most of the session.

The fourth Rolex 24 at Daytona practice session starts at 11:20 a.m. ET on Friday. 

RESULTS: Practice 3

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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