Setting sights on third 24 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona victory.
The Roar Before the 24 and the first-ever Motul Pole Award 100, the qualifying race that sets the starting grid for the Rolex 24 At Daytona that starts Saturday, January 30, has come to a close. Traditionally held weeks before the Rolex 24, this year’s Roar had been shifted to one week before due to complications from COVID-19.
Alegra Motorsports took full advantage of the race weekend and continued to work with the drivers to test a variety of setups of their new Mercedes-Benz AMG GT3 and make final preparations for the race on January 30, 2021.
The weekend was not without incident, as the team faced an early challenge during the qualifying session’s opening lap for the Motul Pole Award 100. The AMG GT3 made contact with the wall in the bus-stop section of Daytona International Speedway during variable conditions. “There was a little drizzle on the track, and we were out there on new slicks,” said Daniel Morad, Alegra’s silver-rated driver. “The car made contact with the wall after losing grip over the painted line exiting the bus-stop.”
With only a few hours before the first night practice, the team leapt into action, replacing and repairing the damaged parts. Within a few hours, the race car was back out on track. “This team is the best in the business.” said team manager Tony Ditto. “It’s a new car for us, which can make it challenging to make quick repairs. But these guys know how to communicate and work together. It is this type of teamwork that makes a winning endurance racing team.”
The incident placed the number 28 car to the back of the grid for the start of the Motul Pole Award 100 qualifying race. Daniel Morad took the green flag, making up a few positions early on. Alegra driver Michael de Quesada took over driving duties from Morad and set the fastest lap of the race for several laps. By the close of the race, de Quesada posted the third-fastest lap in the GTD Class. “The car felt good out there.” said de Quesada. “The guys did a great job getting it ready for us.”
The Alegra Mercedes-Benz AMG GT3 will start the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in fifteenth position. When asked about the grid position, Alegra driver Billy Johnson said, “It’s nice to start an endurance race at the front of the field. However, it’s a long race and what’s more important is where you are when you cross that finish line.”
The green flag for the Rolex 24 At Daytona starts Saturday, January 30, on the same DIS road course.