Daytona 24: Doran Racing No. 78 Thursday report

Doran Racing's DORAN JE4 Ford No. 78 Qualifies Fourth Thursday for Rolex 24 at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 26 - Arrangements to run Doran Racing's No. 78 DORAN JE4 Ford in this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway ...

Doran Racing's DORAN JE4 Ford No. 78 Qualifies Fourth Thursday for Rolex 24 at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 26 - Arrangements to run Doran Racing's No. 78 DORAN JE4 Ford in this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway were finalized at the last minute, but that didn't matter to 2004 and 2005 Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais. Despite taking his first laps in the car Thursday morning, on Thursday afternoon Bourdais put it in fourth place on the grid for the most prestigious endurance sports car race in North America.

Bourdais originally qualified fifth, but he moved up one spot after the car originally scored in second failed the post-qualifying technical inspection.

Joining Bourdais behind the wheel of the bright red No. 78 will be Raul Boesel of San Paulo, Brazil and B.J. Zacharias of Cincinnati, Ohio. Bourdais was born in Le Mans, France but now lives in Petersburg, Fla.

The car's sponsors are 1 Cigarette Boats/Lip-Ship Performance; SLS Audio and Ryan Companies. The team owner is Kevin Doran and the crew chief is John Wright. The entry is a sister car to the Feeds the Need/Doran Racing Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Ford No. 77.

Bourdais' fastest lap was his sixth one during the 15-minute qualifying session and will go down in the record books as a 1:44.691 (122.417 mph) for the 3.56-mile, 14-turn road course.

"We had a clean lap at the very last minute and put one together," said Bourdais. "The car has potential; it is a good package. It's just a shame that our deal came together so late or I could have been testing here in it earlier this month, but the deal wasn't done then.

"We made some small adjustments to our baseline set-up and went out, and I think it's pretty damn good," he added. "The Ford engine is doing the job, and it's a good chassis and a good package. The drivers are all consistent and close to one another in our times; now we'll just see what fortune brings us for the race."

Lucas Luhr won the pole with a 1:44.009 (123.220 mph) in the Alex Job Racing/Emory Motorsports No. 23, which was a new track record. The Target Chip Ganassi No. 02 will start second followed by the Gainsco/Blackhawk Racing No. 99 and the Doran Racing No. 78.

Bourdais and his father, Patrick, are also competing in the Grand-Am Cup race here on Friday. They'll drive the Ford Racing/Multimatic Motorsports Mustang GT No. 1 in the GS class in that event, a support event to the Rolex 24.

"Ford gave us the opportunity to do the Grand-Am Cup race as a reward for winning the Champ Car title," Bourdais explained.

Live timing and scoring for both events will be available on line at grandamerican.com.

In addition, SPEED will provide many hours of live coverage of the Rolex 24. It will be done in three parts this year: from noon until 6 p.m. and from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Saturday, and from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. All times are Eastern.

The team's Web site is at doranracing.com, while additional information is on-line at fordracing.com and restartcommunications.com. Bourdais' Web site is at sebastien-bourdais.com, while his Champ Car team's Web site is located at newmanhaas.com.

-doran-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Lucas Luhr , Sébastien Bourdais , Kevin Doran , Alex Job
Teams Doran Racing , Multimatic Motorsports