FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 3, 2016 – Going into the 2016 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series (CTSC) season, the Rebel Rock Racing team brought new faces and a renewed focus to the track, and the initial returns spoke for themselves. The weather early in the weekend brought consistent rain showers for both practice and qualifying, with a forecast of near perfect weather conditions for the race itself.
The team opted to skip the first practice of the event, but in Practice #2 went straight to the top of the timing sheets with a second place result in their #7 Street Tuner (ST) class Porsche Cayman with Elliott Skeer and Robin Liddell behind the wheel. In the third and final practice of the weekend before qualifying saw them do one better and take the top spot in class.
Skeer would handle the driving duties in qualifying, which would also mean he would start the 2 hour 30 minute BMW Performance 200 at the newly renovated Daytona International Speedway the following day. With confidence in the car under him and the team behind him, Skeer would not disappoint by taking Pole Position in class, and a Top-5 overall in the wet weather conditions. The sister #8 entry of Jim Jonsin and Michael Mathé would split strategy and skip the wet sessions to focus on their dry weather race set-up, which would have them start at the rear of the field.
Skeer would hold serve at the start, with great pressure from behind, he opted to settle into third position and allow his nearest competitors fight it out while saving his tires and car for an extended run before handing over his machine to Liddell. The strategy worked perfectly as he retook the lead before his pit stop, a great driver change and stop by the team was thwarted by an air pocket in the fuel fill line caused an almost 30-second delay for Robin to reenter the field.
Liddell would ultimately enter the fray still within the Top-5 in class, and at one point made his way up to second place. In the process of working his way through traffic, a headlight became dislodged causing significant drag on the straights, and look away much of the cars top end speed. The last few laps would find Liddell and the #4 Honda Civic swap third and fourth places several times, with the #4 getting a run heading to the checker, would create near photo-finish with the #4 edging out the Porsche Cayman for third place by less than two feet as they crossed the line side-by-side.
“Very happy with the result, the whole Rebel Rock team worked really hard from the Roar test until the race.” Skeer continues, “Having Tom (FitzGerald), Frank (DePew), and Chris (Nott) on the team side, and co-driving with Robin gave me a great deal of confidence this weekend. Getting pole position was the best way to start the season, you really can’t ask for a better start. The first stint was all about saving the car and the tires to hand off to Robin, and I couldn’t trust another driver more than him. Great job by the whole team, I really want to thank everyone on the Rebel Rock team and our sponsors for the opportunity.”
Of the event Liddell states, “I’m both pleased and disappointed with our fourth place finish this weekend. Elliott drove a brilliant opening stint, taking pole, leading the race and bringing it in Top-3. He drove very smart and fast. We lost some time on the pit stop, we were still in a good position, but I wasn’t able to battle until the yellow came out and bunched us up. Once the green dropped we were back in the thick of it, and I was at home and enjoying myself in some great battles on track. The car performed really well, the team did a super job. We were so close at the end and disappointed we missed out on the podium, but overall a great result for the team. From here, we know we have a good package going forward, and can focus on some other areas to build on. I know we have a strong team and co-driver to contend as the season progresses and we head into Sebring in March.”
The #7 entry started at the rear of the field with Jim Jonsin behind the wheel. He’d immediately start picking up spots at the drop of the green. He reported into the team that the grip of the car was fantastic; he was able to make up a lot of ground on the infield before a misfire would end their day prematurely.
The entire Rebel Rock Racing team now focuses on building off their success at Daytona, making sure they continue progress forward, and bring a quality package to the Continental Tire paddock to contend for the 2016 championship.
The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge BMW Performance 200 at Daytona can be seen on Fox Sports 1 on February 13th, 2016 at 8:30 am EST.