Daytona 24: SunTrust Racing first qualifying report

Max Angelelli Puts SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley Mk.11 on the Front Row for the Rolex 24 at Daytona Daytona, Florida (February 3, 2005) - Max Angelelli charged hard in Thursday's qualifying session, leading the charts for most of the day, and ...

Max Angelelli Puts SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley Mk.11 on the Front Row for the Rolex 24 at Daytona

Daytona, Florida (February 3, 2005) - Max Angelelli charged hard in Thursday's qualifying session, leading the charts for most of the day, and turned a quick 1:46.945 at 119.837 mph to put the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley Mk.11 on the front row for the start of the 43rd annual Rolex 24 at Daytona. Scott Pruett, in the No. 01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley, squeaked him out of the top spot on the final lap with a 1:46.928, creating a repeat of last year's starting order.

"I'm happy to be on the front row, especially this year in front of so many famous drivers, quick drivers and good cars, good teams," said the Italian Angelelli. "But when you cannot get the pole and you've basically been fastest all day long, my enjoyment is cut 50 percent."

Angelelli will start Saturday's twice-around-the-clock endurance race for the team. Endurance aces Wayne Taylor and Emmanuel Collard make up the rest of the talented driver line-up for SunTrust Racing. SunTrust drivers likely total more 24 hour race experience than any other team in the 62-car field. The 1996 Rolex 24 at Daytona winner, Wayne Taylor, alone has 23 24-hour endurance races to his name, including nine at Daytona. Emmanuel Collard follows with 17 efforts, including an overall win and two class victories at Spa. Max Angelelli adds another eight, for a total of 48. When each driver starts this weekend's endurance race, they will collectively total 51 24-hour races, including Daytona, LeMans, Spa and Nurburgring.

"We've done everything we feel that we have to do for the race, I mean preparation-wise," said car one of the few Daytona Prototype car owner/drivers, Wayne Taylor. "I don't think we've left any stones unturned. You know, really, it's going to be very competitive and very tough. We've got to just stay out of trouble and see where we are on Sunday morning."

"I think it's good because we start on the first row," added Collard. "I think we have a very good car for the race. It's very easy to drive apparently. I didn't drive this morning, but it seems easy to drive. I'm going to drive the car in tonight's session."

The SunTrust Racing team was second in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series championship last season, with Taylor also finishing second in the Driver's Championship. Three victories, eight podium finishes, one pole and eight fastest laps were the amazing statistics the team added up in 2004. Winning this year's Daytona endurance classic would be a big jewel for the team and drivers. There's a lot of buzz in the Daytona Paddock about the strength of this team. Sunday afternoon will tell the tale with the final outcome.

The Rolex 24 at Daytona begins at noon on Saturday and can be followed live on the internet at www.grandamerican.com (click on the free Zippo live timing). Speed Channel will broadcast 14 hours of the race live, beginning at 12:00 noon.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Scott Pruett , Emmanuel Collard , Wayne Taylor , Max Angelelli