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Rolex 24: Negri leads MSR Ligier to Daytona pole

Oswaldo Negri carries the MSR Ligier JS P2's free practice pace through to qualifying by claiming a comprehensive pole position in Daytona.
Oswaldo Negri Jr. cemented Michael Shank Racing's status as the favourite for the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona after taking a comprehensive pole position at the Daytona International Speedway.

The local driver dominated free practice in the new Honda-powered Ligier JS P2 and continued to lead the way in qualifying, lowering his marker on three occasions to set a best time of 1min 39.194secs.

The effort would see the Negri – who will share the car with AJ Allmendinger, Matt McMurry and John Pew – end the session a solid two tenths up on the two Chip Ganassi Fords of Scott Dixon and Scott Pruett.

Last year's winners Joao Barbosa, Sebastien Bourdais and Christian Fittipaldi in the Action Express Corvette will start in fourth, ahead of the impressive DeltaWing quartet of Gabby Chaves, Andy Meyrick, Memo Rojas and Katherie Legge, who bounced back from failing to complete a single lap in either free practice session to qualify fifth, less than half a second off the ultimate pace.

Elsewhere, the new HPD ARX P2 continued to endure a troubled race debut, with just the #2 machine of Johannes Van Overbeek, Jon Fogarty and Ed Brown setting a time to qualify 13th overall, while the #1 car of Ryan Dalziel, David Heinemeier-Hansson and Scott Sharp at the back of the field.

In the PC class, Johnny Mowlem snatched class pole position for the BAR1 Motorsports team after going quickest with his final lap of the session, the British driver heading off Colin Braun in the rival CORE car.

Oliver Gavin handed Corvette pole position in the GTLM class after a dominant performance in the C7.R, the Englishman putting almost four tenths between himself and the Ferrari 458 Italia of Le Mans race winner Gimmi Bruni.

The factory Aston Martin, headed by Pedro Lamy, qualified third, with the BMW of John Edwards ensuring four different manufacturers inside the top four. By contrast, Porsche brought up the rear with its three entries, including its factory-backed 'North America' machines.

The GTD class, meanwhile, was led by the TRG Aston Martin of James Davison, ahead of the TI Automotive Riley Dodge and the Konrad Porsche.

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