The No. 10 SunTrust Corvette Dallara DP of Wayne Taylor Racing will start this weekend’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season-opening 50th Rolex 24 At Daytona from the outside of the front row after qualifying Thursday afternoon at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
I wasn’t expecting to end up P2, but I still feel our car is very fast and I still feel that, for the 24-hour, our car will be the car to beat.
Max Angelelli, who won the 2005 edition of this twice-around-the-clock endurance marathon co-driving with Wayne Taylor and Emmanuel Collard en route to that year’s Rolex Series championship for SunTrust Racing, turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 41.240 seconds (126.590 mph), second-best among 60 car-and-driver combinations that will take the green flag Saturday. It will be the ninth consecutive front-row start for the SunTrust team, dating back to last May at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., and the sixth time in nine Rolex 24s that the SunTrust team has qualified on the front row.
Angelelli’s lap was bettered only by Ryan Dalziel in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley – a brand new car that had yet to turn a wheel prior to today. Dalziel’s pole-winning lap of 1:41.119 at 126.742 mph bested Angelelli by just .121 of a second.
“I can’t hide the fact that I am deeply disappointed at not winning the pole today,” said Angelelli, who is sharing the SunTrust Racing machine with third-year regular co-driver Ricky Taylor and for the second year in a row at the Rolex 24 with IZOD IndyCar Series star Ryan Briscoe. “This is the most important race of the year and I always want to start the biggest race from the pole. I wasn’t expecting to end up P2, but I still feel our car is very fast and I still feel that, for the 24-hour, our car will be the car to beat. I believe the key for everybody will be reliability with these new cars here this year. With the new cars, we have no idea what’s going to happen, what could happen. We’ve never run these cars longer than one hour at a time, and that would leave us 23 to go. So, I’m expecting issues for everybody. I can’t believe we’ll see cars finishing without any issues. We feel pretty strong with our SunTrust Corvette, though. We’ve made a lot of changes since we began this project and we feel positive. We’ve been focusing on the 24-hour the entire time and covering that distance. We never really focused on turning fast lap times, but that just happened. So we have been fast and reliable. But we’re really focused – focused on not having any major problems.”
“The pole is always great, but it’s still the Rolex 24 and it only counts what happens starting Saturday afternoon,” team owner Wayne Taylor said. “All I can think about is that Max and I won this race in 2005 when we qualified second, and I won it in 1996 when I qualified second. Maybe it’s an omen. The pressure’s on those guys who won the pole, now. They came here never having turned a wheel with that car and they got the pole. They did great. Congratulations to them. But, you know, it only counts where everybody is on Sunday afternoon when the checkered flag falls. I’m not going to let us get down because we only qualified second. Reliability will be a big question mark for all of us with brand new cars, obviously. But I’m confident in the work the team has done. They have been focusing clearly and all along to make this a 24-hour car. And it has been relatively fast, comfortably, and that’s just a bonus. I’m not beat. We’re definitely looking forward to making good things happen on Saturday and Sunday, and that’s what counts.”
Two Daytona Prototype-class competitors already experience major issues on this, the opening day of practice and qualifying. The two-time-defending series-champion No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley of Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Graham Rahal and Joey Hand, as well as the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Darren Law, David Donohue and Christian Fittipaldi, had to change motors after early afternoon practice today and did not make it out for the qualifying session. They’ll start at the back of the Daytona Prototype field.