Ally drivers Jimmie Johnson (Mooresville, N.C.) and Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) finished sixth in Sunday’s Motul Pole Award 100 qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway. As a result of their finish, they will start from the third row on the DPi grid for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 At Daytona Jan. 27-31.
In today’s qualifying race, Johnson started fifth in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R. Early on, Johnson battled changing weather conditions from light rain to slow drying conditions. The NASCAR Cup Champion had a flood of new experiences dealing with rain tires, spray, and the transition from wet tires to dry. Handing over to Kobayashi, the Asian driver was able to make up some ground bringing the Ally Cadillac to the checker in sixth.
“The Ally Cadillac felt ok,” Kobayashi said. “I had a good long run in the car, a full stint to myself. I got positive feedback from the car. Let’s see where we go next week. We have many things to work on like driver changes. For this week we are very happy. Jimmie is working very hard. He’s made a big step this week. I think next week he will be even faster. I am looking forward to the few days doing more work with Simon [Pagenaud], Mike [Rockenfeller], and the team.”
For Jimmie Johnson it starting-off in the rain brought a lot of new experiences.
“I’m very thankful that the team put me in this position to start the race and qualify the Ally Cadillac,” Johnson said. “It put me in some positions I hadn’t been in before. It allowed me to understand the prerace procedures like fuel mapping pages, warming the tires up under caution, keep the carbon brakes hot, and things you mess with in the car. All of that while it is raining. To be running in the rain and to understand the tires, the spray from the other cars and then transition to dry with slicks and getting them up to temperature. I wasn’t as fast as I wanted to be, but I stayed on the road and had a lot of valuable first-time experiences, which was really helpful.”
Johnson and Kobayashi will be joined by IndyCar Champion Simon Pagenaud (France) and endurance racing ace Mike Rockenfeller (Germany) for the Rolex 24. Next weekend, Kobayashi looks to win his third straight Rolex 24 (2019 and 2020), while Rockenfeller hopes to get his second Rolex 24 win (2010). Rockenfeller was part of the Action Express team that won the twice around the clock race in 2010.
Source. Kyle Chura