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WTR Andretti Leads Stoppage-Filled Opening Practice

Filipe Albuquerque quickest in opening session of Rolex 24 weekend; five red flag periods…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport driver Filipe Albuquerque set the pace in an eventful Rolex 24 at Daytona opening practice session that included five red flag periods.

Albuquerque topped the overall leaderboard with just under half an hour left in the 90-minute run, posting a time of 1:35.366 behind the wheel of the No. 10 Acura ARX-06.

Shortly after WTR Andretti moved ahead of its GTP rivals, the session was red-flagged for a fifth time when Lucas Auer crashed heavily at the exit of Turn 1.

Auer had only just set the fastest lap in the GTD class when he dropped the right-side wheels of Winward Racing’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo onto the grass, causing it to rotate into the left-side barrier.

The session was restarted with four minutes to go but there were no improvements.

After an interrupted hour and a half, Albuquerque ended up 0.266 seconds ahead of second-placed Alex Lynn in the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-LMDh.

Rolex 24 pole-sitter Tom Blomqvist finished third, a shade under three-tenths behind Albuquerque, after leading the opening half for Acura squad Meyer Shank Racing.

The No. 7 Porsche 963 only turned six laps after the Team Penske factory crew worked on an issue with the car’s brakes, while the No. 25 BMW M Hybrid V8 spent a long time behind the wall due to a spark plug change.

The first red flag of opening practice occurred after just six minutes when the Kellymoss with Riley Porsche 911 GT3 R stopped at the bottom of the Daytona oval banking.

Other red flags occurred for car debris on the track, a stoppage for the No. 63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 and an accident for the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P320 Nissan, which nosed into the wall after John DeAngelis lost control exiting the Le Mans Chicane.

Paul-Loup Chatin set the pace in the LMP2 class with a time of 1:38.302 in the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson.

Auer’s 1:46.763 effort before his accident held up as the best GTD time, and the fastest lap across the two GT classes combined. The GTD Pro category was led by Owen Trinkler who posted a 1:47.010 in the Team TGM Aston Martin Vantage GTE.

Felipe Fraga topped LMP3 with a time of 1:42.704 driving for Ligier team Riley.

The second practice session starts at 3:20 p.m. ET.

RESULTS: Practice 1

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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