The No. 10 SunTrust Corvette Dallara DP of Wayne Taylor Racing, seeking its third consecutive GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series victory, will start Saturday’s Chevrolet GRAND-AM 200 from the front row after qualifying Friday at Detroit’s Belle Isle street circuit.
Veteran Italian driving ace Max Angelelli, who along with SunTrust Racing teammate Ricky Taylor and their Rolex Series counterparts are taking part in their first-ever Detroit race weekend, piloted the No. 10 Corvette DP to a fast qualifying lap of 1 minute, 22.445 seconds (90.824 mph) on the 2.1-mile, 14-turn Belle Isle track. The 15-minute qualifying session offered the first completely dry conditions of the day after Friday’s morning and early afternoon practice sessions were hampered by rain.
“I’m very happy to be here. It’s a great event, a great racetrack, and the atmosphere is just fantastic,” said Angelelli, who put SunTrust Racing on the front row for the third time in five races this season and for the 11th time in the last 13 races dating back to last year’s Memorial Day race at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. “It’s the first time for me here, so I ended up learning the racetrack during qualifying and I’m very happy with the second position in qualifying. I thought I could actually get the pole. But it’s a two-hour race, so there will be lots of opportunities to put the SunTrust car in front. Obviously, the recent results have really helped us. The morale of the team is really high. But we won’t be happy just collecting points. We want to collect wins and then manage the points at the end of the season. The racetrack here was difficult with traffic today, and it will be difficult for the race. Between the DPs and the GTs, there is not much of a gap on braking points. So you can easily end up behind a GT car for a very long time. That creates an opportunity for all of the DPs because it allows you to catch the leader. I’m always looking forward to this sort of opportunity, whether I’m leading or in the back.”
Angelelli, who with Taylor won the last two Rolex Series events at Homestead-Miami Speedway and New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, missed the pole by .076 of a second behind Jon Fogarty in the No. 99 Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP. It was Fogarty’s first pole of the season and upped his series record to 20 career poles. Corvette DPs swept the top four spots on the grid.