GIDLEY QUALIFIES 16TH FOR ROLEX 24 IN KODAK CAR DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 24 - Memo Gidley put Doran Racing's Kodak Doran Ford No. 77 firmly in the field for this weekend's Rolex 24 when he qualified 16th in the 15-minute Daytona Prototype ...
GIDLEY QUALIFIES 16TH FOR ROLEX 24 IN KODAK CAR
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 24 - Memo Gidley put Doran Racing's Kodak Doran Ford No. 77 firmly in the field for this weekend's Rolex 24 when he qualified 16th in the 15-minute Daytona Prototype qualifying session Thursday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway.
Gidley's fastest lap, his fifth one in the session, was timed in 1:42.526 for an average speed of 125.002 miles per hour for the 3.56-mile, 12-turn road course. That was only 1.733 seconds off Oswaldo Negri Jr.'s pole-winning time, which was a new track record for the series' new Pirelli tires. It was also 2.431 seconds faster than Gidley's qualifying run for this race last year, when he qualified 15th after a crash in practice.
Fortunately there was no such drama for the team here Thursday before qualifying, which was run under overcast skies. Twenty-four Daytona Prototypes and six GT cars are now in the field, as the top 30 positions were determined today. The starting line-up for the remainder of the field will be completed tomorrow.
Gidley, of Novato, Calif., and Sherrills Ford, N.C., and Brad Jaeger of Cincinnati will drive for the Lebanon, Ohio-based team on the complete Rolex Series circuit this year. Joining them behind the wheel of the Kodak car for the Rolex 24 are Fabrizio Gollin of Castelfranco Veneto, Italy, and Gabriele Gardel of Lugano, Switzerland.
This is Gidley's fourth Rolex 24, Jaeger and Gollin's third, and Gardel's first.
"This race is all about having a consistent car, and I think we have a consistent package," said Gidley after qualifying. "Everybody doing consistent laps is what is going to give us our best shot at winning.
"Our car is comfortable to drive, which is very important for a 24-hour race," he added. "Our Ford engine is running well; it's strong and reliable. All of our drivers have practiced, and they're all up to speed and comfortable. We're prepared and looking good."