Performance Tech Motorsports used strong teamwork to overcame a transmission problem Thursday, Jan. 23 and qualify fourth in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Raphael Matos turned a top lap of 1 minute, 42.053 seconds in the No. 38 Dash Neighborhoods/ Rio 2/ Global Precast Oreca DP09 machine.
Matos ended up less than one-half second behind the top PC qualifier, Colin Braun, who led at 1:41.777 on the 3.56-mile circuit at Daytona International Speedway.
The Performance Tech team will start 18th overall in the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship event.
“I think we did fairly good,” Matos said. “The car still has some issues that I think we will look very closely at later tonight. I’m happy with fourth. Obviously we were looking for the pole position. We had plenty of pace for that, but it’s a long race. What matters is that we’re in the show, and we have a strong car for practice tomorrow and the race Saturday and Sunday.”
Brazilian driver Matos had a slow start in qualifying due to the car’s failure to shift. He brought the car into the pits early in the 15-minute qualifying session, and lead engineer Ty Sayman and the Performance Tech team fixed the problem and sent Matos back on track.
“The car was having transmission issues,” Sayman said. “The car just wouldn’t shift. We reset the car, and that seemed to fix the issue for qualifying. But we’re still looking into it.”
2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona GT class winner Matos got up to speed quickly with 10 minutes remaining in the pressure-packed session. He steadily rose through the ranks of PC cars, taking the No. 38 from seventh to fifth in eight minutes. In the last minute of the qualifying session, Matos turned his best lap to put the team into a satisfying fourth position.
The green flag for the Rolex 24 will fly at 2:15 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Jan. 25. The finish for the twice-around-the-clock endurance classic is set for 2:15 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26.