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GRAND-AM: McNish Optimistic for Top Daytona Result

Allan McNish believes the foundations have been laid for a successful Daytona 24 Hours this weekend (26-27 Jan).

The Dumfries-born race ace is bidding to win the annual twice-around-the-clock sportscar endurance race in Florida for a first time having finished second on three previous occasions.

“It’s all pretty tight at the front on race pace,” confirmed McNish. “I think with our strategy and the way the Starworks Motorsport team works, we’ll be there or thereabouts in terms of challenging for race honours.”

McNish’s co-driver Ryan Dalziel, from Glasgow, starts the Rolex 24 At Daytona tomorrow (Saturday, 2030 GMT) from seventh place on the 57-car grid.

Meanwhile the Riley-Ford, which will also be driven in the 51st running of the race by Sébastien Bourdais (France) and Alex Popow (Venezuela), has set top-six fastest times in each of the four practice sessions held over the last two days (THURS/FRI).

Allan continued: “The structure of the sessions here at Daytona are very different to most races with the very short practice sessions prior to qualifying, a longer, ‘night’ practice then a final practice on Friday morning.

“Invariably a team must miss one of the sessions because of the need to change the engine and put the race motor in. So it’s important to get most running and set-up work done before qualifying.

“We missed out on some track time after a couple of small problems and that restricted us a little but have still achieved a reasonable balance on the car.

“We also worked more on a race set-up than specifically on a ‘qually’ lap.”

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