Rene Rast topped a closely-fought first practice session on race week for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, setting the pace for Mazda Team Joest as Fernando Alonso's co-driver suffered a crash.

Rast led the Mazda DPi team to the top of the timesheets in the hour-long first practice session on Thursday morning, recording a best lap time of 1:37.428 around the 'roval' layout of Daytona International Speedway.

Rast's lap came late in the session, displacing early leader Tristan Vautier, who ultimately finished 0.007 seconds behind in second place for Spirit of Daytona Racing.

Less than one-tenth of a second separated the leading Prototype runners in FP1, but two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso did not feature at the head of the field after seeing United Autosports co-driver Phil Hanson crash out early on.

Hanson hit the barrier at Turn 5, bringing out a red flag as well as ending the #23 crew's session, meaning neither Alonso nor Lando Norris were able to get any track time.

Lance Stroll was able to lead the F1 contingent's charge in opening practice as the #37 Jackie Chan DCR Jota Oreca 07 Gibson ended the session seventh-fastest courtesy of Daniel Juncadella.

Joey Hand led Ford Chip Ganassi Racing to the head of the field in GTLM, finishing half a second clear of Risi Competizione's Alessandro Pier Guidi, but the Ferrari-backed team was able to take top spot in GTD through Miguel Molina in the #82 Ferrari 488 GT3.

Practice at Daytona continues at 6:40pm GMT ahead of qualifying tonight.

 

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