Paul Edwards qualifies Pontiac GXP.R 15th for Rolex 24 Hour race at Daytona

Daytona Beach Florida (January 22, 2009): Paul Edwards qualified the No. 07 Pontiac GXP.R in 15th position for Saturday's Rolex 24-Hour at Daytona International Raceway with a best lap of 1:51.236 for a lap average of 115.214.

The Rolex 24-Hour will begin the 2009 season of the Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 as Edwards and Kelly Collins will team up with Jan Magnussen in Daytona as they began the defense of their 2008 Rolex Grand-Am championship Drivers' and Team Championships.

"I'm happy with that," Paul Edwards said of his 15th place qualifying run. "Our Pontiac GXP.R is so easy to drive we should be able to put in consistent laps hour after hour and work our way to the top as the race wears on. We did it last year so there is no reason why we can't do that again this year."

"That (qualifying) was about what we expected," said team owner Leighton Reese. "Grand-Am works hard to make differing cars as equal as possible but unfortunately for us that doesn't work out well for us at Daytona. Particularly for one lap of qualifying.

"Actually we went faster today than we ever have on this track so we are encouraged by that and in knowing that with Paul Edwards, Kelly Collins and Jan Magnussen driving we have the best team of drivers in our Pontiac GXP.R so I think we should be able to wear them down in the long run. Just like we did the past two years in the Rolex 24."

The #70 Mazda of Sylvain Tremblay won the pole position with a lap of 1:49.445 to repeat their pole win for the 2008 Rolex 24.

The Rolex 24-Hour endurance event is scheduled to begin at 3:30 PM on Saturday January 24th and conclude at 3:30 PM on Sunday as the Grand-Am competitors will run non-stop rain or shine for 24 hours around the Daytona road course.

-credit: br