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.”

Fernando Alonso United Autosports Test 4 Photo Racedepartment

“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

1 10  Jordan Taylor
R.van der Zande
Ryan Hunter-Reay
Cadillac 1’36.083
2 H.Castroneves
Ricky Taylor
Graham Rahal
Acura 1’36.090 0.007
3 F.Albuquerque
João Barbosa
C.Fittipaldi
Cadillac 1’36.194 0.111
4 38  James French
Patricio O’Ward
Kyle Masson
Joel Miller
ORECA/Gibson 1’36.318 0.235
5 90  Matt McMurry
Tristan Vautier
Eddie Cheever
Cadillac 1’36.472 0.389
6 37  Lance Stroll
Felix Rosenqvist
Robin Frijns
D.Juncadella
ORECA/Gibson 1’36.492 0.409
7 31  Felipe Nasr
Eric Curran
Mike Conway
Stuart Middleton
Cadillac 1’36.508 0.425
8 54  Jon Bennett
Colin Braun
Romain Dumas
Loïc Duval
ORECA/Gibson 1’36.567 0.484
9 55  J.Bomarito
Harry Tincknell
Spencer Pigot
Mazda 1’36.633 0.550
10 Dane Cameron
J.P.Montoya
Simon Pagenaud
Acura 1’36.931 0.848
11 78  Ho-Pin Tung
Alex Brundle
F.Habsburg
A.F.da Costa
ORECA/Gibson 1’36.982 0.899
12 85  Simon Trummer
Robert Alon
D.Defrancesco
Austin Cindric
ORECA/Gibson 1’37.005 0.922
13 23  Phil Hanson
Lando Norris
Fernando Alonso
Ligier/Gibson 1’37.008 0.925
14 99  Chris Miller
Stephen Simpson
M.Goikhberg
Gustavo Menezes
ORECA/Gibson 1’37.124 1.041
15 32  Will Owen
Hugo de Sadeleer
Paul Di Resta
Bruno Senna
Ligier/Gibson 1’38.186 2.103
16 52  S.Saavedra
Gustavo Yacamán
Roberto González
Nick Boulle
Ligier/Gibson 1’38.773 2.690
17 20  Marc Drumwright
Eric Lux
Alex Popow
Tomy Drissi
Brendan Gaughan
Riley/Gibson 1’41.778 5.695
18 22  J.van Overbeek
Pipo Derani
Nicolas Lapierre
Nissan 1’46.129 10.046
19 77  Oliver Jarvis
Tristan Nunez
René Rast
Mazda
20 Scott Sharp
Ryan Dalziel
Olivier Pla
Nissan
21 Jan Magnussen
Antonio García
M.Rockenfeller
Chevrolet 1’42.779 6.696
22 66  Joey Hand
Dirk Müller
S.Bourdais
Ford 1’42.798 6.715
23 912  Laurens Vanthoor
Earl Bamber
Gianmaria Bruni
Porsche 1’42.927 6.844
24 911  Patrick Pilet
Nick Tandy
F.Makowiecki
Porsche 1’43.062 6.979
25 67  Ryan Briscoe
R.Westbrook
Scott Dixon
Ford 1’43.091 7.008
26 Oliver Gavin
Tommy Milner
Marcel Fässler
Chevrolet 1’43.453 7.370
27 62  Toni Vilander
A.P.Guidi
James Calado
Davide Rigon
Ferrari 1’43.601 7.518
28 25  Alexander Sims
C.De Phillippi
Bill Auberlen
Philipp Eng
BMW 1’43.948 7.865
29 24  Jesse Krohn
J.M.Edwards
Nicky Catsburg
Augusto Farfus
BMW 1’44.413 8.330
30 51  Paul Dalla Lana
Pedro Lamy
Mathias Lauda
Daniel Serra
Ferrari 1’46.049 9.966
31 82  Miguel Molina
R.P.de Lara
Martin Fuentes
Santiago Creel
Matt Griffin
Ferrari 1’46.502 10.419
32 15  Jack Hawksworth
David H.Hansson
Scott Pruett
Dominik Farnbacher
Lexus 1’46.714 10.631
33 63  Cooper MacNeil
A.Balzan
Gunnar Jeannette
Jeff Segal
Ferrari 1’47.055 10.972
34 14  Dominik Baumann
Kyle Marcelli
P.Frommenwiler
Bruno Junqueira
Lexus 1’47.186 11.103
35 86  Katherine Legge
Álvaro Parente
Trent Hindman
A.J.Allmendinger
Acura 1’47.251 11.168
36 29  S.van der Linde
K.van der Linde
Jeffrey Schmidt
Christopher Mies
Audi 1’47.273 11.190
37 58  Patrick Long
C.Nielsen
Robert Renauer
Mathieu Jaminet
Porsche 1’47.291 11.208
38 96  Jens Klingmann
Martin Tomczyk
Mark Kvamme
Don Yount
Cameron Lawrence
BMW 1’47.348 11.265
39 44  John Potter
Andy Lally
Andrew Davis
M.Winkelhock
Audi 1’47.442 11.359
40 59  Steve Smith
Reinhold Renger
Hari Proczyk
Sven Müller
Matteo Cairoli
Porsche 1’47.587 11.504
41 33  Ben Keating
J.Bleekemolen
A.Christodoulou
Luca Stolz
Mercedes 1’47.796 11.713
42 64  Bill Sweedler
Townsend Bell
F.Montecalvo
Sam Bird
Ferrari 1’47.839 11.756
43 69  Chad Gilsinger
Ryan Eversley
Sean Rayhall
John Falb
Acura 1’47.862 11.779
44 48  Bryan Sellers
Madison Snow
A.Caldarelli
Bryce Miller
Lamborghini 1’48.181 12.098
45 93  Justin Marks
L.Aschenbach
Mario Farnbacher
Côme Ledogar
Acura 1’48.239 12.156
46 75  Kenny Habul
Thomas Jäger
Maro Engel
Mikaël Grenier
Mercedes 1’48.326 12.243
47 19  Max van Splunteren
E.P.Companc
C.Engelhart
Christoph Lenz
Louis Machiels
Lamborghini 1’51.531 15.448
48 73  Patrick Lindsey
Jörg Bergmeister
Norbert Siedler
Tim Pappas
Porsche
49 71  Kenton Koch
Robby Foley
Loris Spinelli
Juan Perez
Mercedes
50 11  Rolf Ineichen
Mirko Bortolotti
Franck Perera
Rik Breukers
Lamborghini 1’46.658 10.575
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