Following several warm-up laps, the Audi factory driver managed to make a perfect landing. After the tyre pressure had reached the planned optimum level, Albuquerque drove a flawless lap on the high-speed track in Florida. His time of 1m 48.282s earned him and Team Alex Job Racing grid position six in the GT class, making Audi the third-best brand in the field of the eight manufacturers.
René Rast achieved the second-best time of an Audi driver. The German from Team APR Motorsport took grid position eleven (1m 48.581s). Markus Winkelhock in the Audi R8 GRAND-AM qualified in the front half of the field of 34 GT vehicles as well. The Audi from Rum Bum Racing will start from position 16 (1m 48.865s) on Saturday. The American Matt Bell from APR Motorsport achieved grid position 27 in another R8 GRAND-AM.
The main focus of all the teams was and continues to be placed on preparing for the 24-hour race. All teams are using the remaining night practice on Thursday and a final practice on Friday to further refine the set-up of the customer race sports car. The race will start at 15:30 local time on Saturday.
Romolo Liebchen (Head of Audi Sport customer racing): “In qualifying, there were no surprises. We concentrated on preparing for the race. It was important not to take any risks today. Together with the preparation in the tests at the end of last year and in the beginning of January, we’re tackling the race with a clear conscience. The drivers are giving us feedback confirming that we’re running with a set-up that provides very good driveability.”
Filipe Albuquerque (Audi R8 GRAND-AM #24/Alex Job Racing): “I’m very happy with my lap. I kept my cool because I knew that the first three laps are nothing special. I knew when I’d be able to attack. The tyre pressure was developing according to plan and then I only needed a single lap. Everything was right on the dot. There was no more traffic and I made no mistakes. Afterward, the tyres were used up. Things couldn’t have gone any better today. And in the other practice sessions we want to improve our car a little bit more. I’m looking forward to the race.”
1 Nick Tandy (Porsche) 1m 47.631s
2 Andy Lally (Porsche) 1m 47.828s
3 Sean Edwards (Porsche) 1m 48.007s
4 Patrick Long (Porsche) 1m 48.137s
5 Alessandro Balzan (Ferrari) 1m 48.260s
6 Filipe Albuquerque (Audi R8 GRAND-AM) 1m 48.282s
7 Marco Seefried (Porsche) 1m 48.319s
8 Robin Liddell (Camaro) 1m 48.330s
9 Daniel Serra (Ferrari) 1m 48.521s
10 Anthony Lazzaro (Ferrari) 1m 48.577s
11 René Rast (Audi R8 GRAND-AM) 1m 48.581s
16 Markus Winkelhock (Audi R8 GRAND-AM) 1m 48.865s
27 Matt Bell (Audi R8 GRAND-AM) 1m 49.937s
Categories: Audi Motorsport