Daytona 24: Porsche Thursday report

PORSCHE DRIVERS CAPTURE BOTH POLE POSITIONS FOR SATURDAY'S 2006 ROLEX 24 HOURS AT DAYTONA; PORSCHE SEEKS 21ST OVERALL AND 60TH CLASS WIN AT DIS DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - January 26 - Two drivers familiar to American road racing fans, and two...

PORSCHE DRIVERS CAPTURE BOTH POLE POSITIONS FOR SATURDAY'S 2006 ROLEX 24 HOURS AT DAYTONA; PORSCHE SEEKS 21ST OVERALL AND 60TH CLASS WIN AT DIS

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - January 26 - Two drivers familiar to American road racing fans, and two former winners of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, have secure pole positions for their Porsche teams for this year's big event.

Lucas Luhr, the German driver now living in Monaco, and GT class winner in the Petersen/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RS in 2001, survived a Pontiac and Lexus Riley onslaught to put the Alex Job Racing Shred-it Porsche Crawford on the pole with a speed of 123.220 miles-per-hour around the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway high banking and road course for Saturday's 44th running of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

The Alex Job Porsche Crawford, powered by a 3.8-liter version of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR engine, will be driven in the race by Luhr along with Patrick Long, of Las Vegas and Mike Rockenfeller, another German driver now living in Monaco. Luhr/Rockenfeller/Long were fastest during the Rolex test session the beginning of the month, and have been consistently among the top three in every session. Luhr beat out the Pontiac Riley that won the raced here a year ago, by 3.7 seconds. The Riley was being driven by sports car veteran Max Angelelli.

"The car was really good and the weather conditions could not have been better for our pole run," said Luhr. "I went out early and was with some fast cars that were behaving and was able to turn a pretty good time. A few laps later when my tires really started to come in I was held up by a couple of guys, I had a few more tenths in the car and I really would have liked to get back into the 43s but the pole time of 1:44.009 is a good result. The team has put a lot of work into this car since they received it in November. Since my first laps in this new car I have been really comfortable, it is easy to drive fast and the Porsche power will be very helpful with all of the traffic come Saturday. We need to focus on getting a good setup on the car so we can maximize our opportunities in traffic."

Other Porsche-powered Daytona Prototypes included the Brumos Racing Porsche of Joao Barbosa/JC France/Hurley Haywood/Ted Christopher (12th); the RX.com/Synergy Racing Porsche Doran of Patrick Huisman/Brian Frisselle/Burt Frisselle/Clint Field (13th), and the Red Bull Brumos Porsche Fabcar of David Donohue/Darren Law/Sascha Maassen (16th).

In the GT class, Porsches took the top three spots, led by last year's GT winter, Wolf Henzler from Germany, who piloted his Tafel Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, type 997, around the speedway at 113.080 miles-per-hour. Henzler, who will share the driving chores with Robin Liddell/Johannes van Overbeek/Graham Rahal, edged the second Tafel Racing Porsche team car of team owner Jim Tafel, Andrew Davis, Charles Espenlaub, Eric Lutz, and Michael Cawley, by less than three-tenths of a second. Third was the Farnbacher Loles Red Bull Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Dirk Werner/Philip Peter/Dieter Quester/Luca Riccitelli.

The top 30 spots overall (29 prototypes and the pole-sitter in GT) are locked in - the other GT cars will have to qualify again in a final session of Friday.

In Grand-Am Cup, the Porsche 911, type 996, of Craig Stanton and Mark Plummer will also start on the pole for tomorrow's 200-mile event, edging out the Foster/Pilla Mustang GT. The Eric Lutz/Chris Lutz Porsche 911 qualified third.

Complete results are available on www.grandamerican.com. The 44th annual Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona will start Saturday, January 28th, at noon EST, and will be broadcast live on the SPEED Channel network for more than 14 of the 24 hours. The first segment will air with the start of the race on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. EST and run air until 6:00 p.m., they will return at 8:00 p.m. and run until 11:00 p.m. On Sunday the show will resume at 8:00 a.m. and run the finish and post-race activities until 12:30 p.m.

-porsche-

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