Fernando Alonso is pleased with his first qualifying in sports car racing in 13th place, but admits that real challenge lies in a 24-hour race.
Alonso decided to take part in Dayton 24h to prepare for the legendary 24h Le Mansa race, and this was offered to him by his boss at McLaren, led by United Autosports team competing in the US IMSA sports car championship.
The double world champion qualified 0.925 seconds behind Taylor / van der Zande / Hunter-Reay in Cadillac and the second-placed Castroneves / Taylor / Rahal in Acuri was only seven thousand.
Alons’ Ligier / Gibson did not show the speed for the top ten, but the Spaniard was happy to beat drivers in the same car with LMP2 experience since the second and third United Autosport qualified in 15th and 16th place.
“Since the race lasts 24 hours, these are probably the least important qualifications in my life,” said Alonso.
“Otherwise I have 60 or 70 laps to recover after what I do on Saturday and now I have 24 hours. Qualifying is not a key part of the weekend.”
“I think the qualifying was good, it was good to have a clean path without traffic, which was a problem in practice. I’m happy with my laps, less happy with the balance. We still need some improvement to find something more speed but in general I think we did a good job. ”
“I am happy that I was the fastest Ligier driver and with a good advantage, we have top drivers in our team, Bruno Senna is for example the world champion in the LMP2 category, and he is in the second car.”
“We felt competitive and we achieved the maximum.”
“I knew before that our package was not the fastest, but I think the race is long enough to compensate for the lack of performance you possibly have.”
“At the same time, some of the best LMP2 drivers left behind us last year, so we are somewhat surprised and quite happy with that.”
Daytona 24 Hours starts on Saturday 28 January at 20:40 in Central European Time (CET, GMT +1), while local time (GMT -5) starts at 14:40. You can check out the complete schedule of events here.
DAYTONA 24 HOURS STARTING GRID