Weather has played a major role in Thursday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying at Daytona, with rain and red flags helping to create one of the more bizarre qualifying sessions in recent memory.
In what essentially morphed into a one-lap shootout in the GT Le Mans class, the pair of Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSRs have swept the class front row and set the quickest times overall, courtesy of fliers from Nick Tandy and Fred Makowiecki.
Both Tandy and Makowiecki, as well as five other GTLM cars, went quicker than the prototypes in qualifying, largely due to deteriorating conditions during the P and PC class sessions.
Tandy set a 2:01.408 in the No. 911 car with Makowiecki posting a 2:02.364 in the No. 912 car.
Tandy will share the No. 911 car with Patrick Pilet and Kevin Estre for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
John Edwards took the No. 100 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM into third on the grid, ahead of the Scuderia Corsa and Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTEs.
However, the GTLM session sustained a 14-minute red flag due to a rare accident by Gianmaria Bruni in the third of the new Ferraris, the No. 72 SMP Racing entry.
Bruni hydroplaned off course entering Turn 1, and the car lost the rear wing and damaged the left rear quarter panel.
The red flag meant the session was extended for several additional minutes to meet the 10-minute minimum green flag time.
While the top seven in class produced times clear of the GT Daytona field, the best of the debuting Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs will line up ninth in class.
In what was a less wet GTD session, Norbert Siedler took the pole, in one of the debuting Porsche 911 GT3 Rs.
Siedler, who will share the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche with Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey and Matt McMurry for the race, laid down a best time of 2:05.798.
Marc Basseng took the Lamborghini Huracán GT3, in the car’s U.S. race debut, to second on the grid in the No. 28 Konrad Motorsport entry at 2:06.357.
Leh Keen was third in the No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche at 2:06.357 and Damien Faulkner fourth in the No. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R at 2:07.392.
Sven Mueller, the Porsche Junior, took the Frikadelli Racing Porsche into fifth on the grid.
Richie Stanaway was fastest of two Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3s in seventh, with Andy Lally the best of three new Audi R8 LMS in 10th, and the best BMW M6 GT3 and Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 13th and 14th, respectively.
Neither the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Audi nor the No. 16 Change Racing Lamborghini completed laps in this qualifying. Stevenson’s team was working on the Audi and Change was still fixing the left front of the car after Spencer Pumpelly’s accident in first practice.