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Rolex 24: Negri confident Ligier can race DPs

Oswaldo Negri remains confident that his MSR Ligier JS P2 can impress beyond qualifying by challenging for Rolex 24 at Daytona glory.
Oswaldo Negri remains confident he can carry his single lap pace through to the Rolex 24 at Daytona round-the-clock race after qualifying on pole position with the new Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2.

A stalwart of the Daytona Prototype class, MSR made the decision to switch to P2 machinery for its 2015 United Sports Car Championship assault, selecting the new Ligier JS P2 chassis paired with a Honda engine.

So far it has proven to be a shrewd decision, the car looking quick in the hands of Negri around the Daytona International Speedway, the local driver topping both free practice sessions and going on to qualify on pole position.

Indeed, despite the relatively little development lead-in time, Negri – who will share the car in the race with AJ Allmendinger, Matt McMurry and John Pew - has been surprised just how competitive the car has been out of the box

“It's great. It is never bad when you're on pole position, but we have worked hard. We have a good package and the combination of the Ligier chassis and the Honda engine has been incredible. We have worked closely with HPD and the Onroak Ligier guys, but we are still learning the car. Every time you [go out] you get more out of it, you want more and find more limits.

However, despite its immediate pace, question marks hang over the machine's reliability required to triumph over 24 hours, particularly against the proven durability of the Ford and Chevrolet-engined DP entries. Nonetheless, Negri is encouraged by what he has seen so far.

“We will be learning, we just got the car and we did two test sessions,” he continued. “After we finish each day, we have more ideas we can work on. Reliability is unknown to us, but we have 100 per cent trust in Onroak guys that they did their homework, as well as Honda HPD guys. As long as we've had the car, we haven't had a problem.”

The Onroak-developed Ligier JS P2 made its competition debut during the Le Mans 24 Hours and led much of the way before hitting late mechanical dramas. The car has since proven a choice for customer teams and is expected to be well represented in the 2015 World Endurance Championship.

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