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Stars shine in Daytona Rolex 24h qualifying

IndyCar star Ryan Briscoe's Corvette Daytona Prototype qualified in second position for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, with Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti's car claiming third.
Qualifying in the Daytona Prototype (DP) class of the 50th anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona saw the cars of IZOD IndyCar Series stars Ryan Briscoe, Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon all qualifying in the top three.

The #10 SunTrust Racing team, which includes Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe, qualified in second place thanks to the efforts of Briscoe's team mate Max Angelelli putting in a lap of 1:41.240s (126.590 mph) on the 3.56-mile, 12-turn speedway/road course at Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

But they were knocked off an earlier provisional pole position by a flying lap of 1:41.119s (126.741 mph) from Ryan Dalziel driving the #8 Starworks Motorsport car, which includes former F1 driver and Le Mans 24h veteran Allan McNish among its driver line-up. The achievement was all the more remarkable given time lost to an engine failure in the morning, limiting their track activity to just one hour.

Third place went to the #02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley, with its all-star driver line-up consisting of Ganassi's IndyCar champions Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon allied with their NASCAR Sprint Cup counterparts Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray. Dixon had been handed the task of setting the team's qualifying time on Thursday and managed a run of 1:41.463s (126.312 mph).

Another Ganassi IndyCar driver, Graham Rahal, did not have such good luck in the team's other car, the #01, which suffered a blown engine and dropped cylinder in practice. The car will have to start from the back of the 14-car Daytona Prototype field after being unable to be repaired in time to take part in the qualifying session. A small oil fire also hit the #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP driven by Darren Law, Christian Fittipaldi and David Donohue.

Britain's Justin Wilson - returning to racing for the first time since sustaining back injuries in a mid-season accident in IndyCar practice at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course - saw the #60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Ford Riley car qualify in sixth place with a time of 1:41.662s (126.064mph) in the hands of his team mate, NASCAR Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger.

The second, older model Starworks Motorsports Ford Riley DP also made it into qualifying, despite key sponsorship falling through earlier this week. That had meant the team had to stand down its intended IndyCar star trio line-up consisting of Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan and EJ Viso on Tuesday.

Starworks owner Peter Baron managed to put together a re-jigged operation and even to find a new spot for Hunter-Reay, who had been especially gutted at the prospect of missing the Daytona 24h for the first time since 2006. Hunter-Reay will now share the #2 with Lucas Luhr, Scott Mayer, Miguel Potolicchio and Maurizio Scala.

“This race means a lot to me,” said Hunter-Reay, who drove the car to ninth place in qualifying and who will take the first driving stint in the twice-around-the-clock event at the weekend. "24 hours is about endurance and I kind of like the cards we're holding right now. We're in something that is tried and true and could be in a good position.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Ryan Briscoe. [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi Indy Car [credit: IndyCar TV Twitter]
Detroit IndyCar Andretti RHR
Scott Dixon Indy 500
Scott Dixon [credit: IndyCar Series]
Scott Dixon Indy 500 qualifying
Ryan Hunter-Reay Indy 500 practice 2017
Stefan Wilson, 2016 Indy 500
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]
Justin Wilson tribute at Pocono   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/JOE SKIBINSKI]
Ryan Hunter-Reay - Andretti Autosport   [pic credit: IndyCar media/Chris Jones]
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi [credit: IndyCar Series]
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi [credit: IndyCar Series]
Scott Dixon sprays the champagne in Victory Circle following his win in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon is congratulated by Dario Franchitti after winning the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)

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