Daytona24: SunTrust Racing Thursday report

SunTrust Racing: Seventh with Max Angelelli (1:41.311 at 126.502 mph) Max Angelelli, co-driving with Brian Frisselle, Wayne Taylor and Pedro Lamy in the No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR), qualified on the inside of the ...

SunTrust Racing: Seventh with Max Angelelli (1:41.311 at 126.502 mph)

Max Angelelli, co-driving with Brian Frisselle, Wayne Taylor and Pedro Lamy in the No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR), qualified on the inside of the fourth row Thursday afternoon for this weekend's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Angelelli, the 2005 Rolex 24 winner alongside Taylor en route to that year's Rolex Series championship for SunTrust Racing, lapped the 3.56-mile, 14-turn Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road circuit in 1 minute, 41.311 seconds (126.502 mph), good for seventh in the qualifying order among the 51 car-and-driver combinations that will take to the track Saturday for the 47th running of this twice-around-the-clock marathon.

"What I think is we're normally fast in practice and we put a lot of emphasis on qualifying," Angelelli said. "This year here, due to the sequence of events that have taken place since last season (integration of new engine manufacturer Ford, new full-time co-driver Frisselle and new Rolex 24 co-driver Lamy, and this being the first Rolex 24 for the new Dallara chassis), we didn't even think about going after the pole. Today in qualifying was the first time I went out on new tires this month. Of course, I want to be on the first row whenever it is possible, but we have a very good race car and that is the most important thing this weekend. I am really pleased and I am really looking forward to the race. The car absolutely shows it just keeps getting better and better during the course of each (fuel-and-tire) run, which will be a great thing for all of us during the race. I am very happy about that, and I know the other guys are, too."

Angelelli's qualifying lap was less than eight-tenths of a second off the pole-setting lap of David Donohue in the No. 58 Brumos Porsche. The No. 16 Porsche Riley of Penske Racing, qualified by Timo Bernhard, grabbed the outside-front-row starting spot a mere 1,000th of a second behind Donohue. Defending series champion and three-time-defending Rolex 24 winner Scott Pruett, qualified the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley sixth.

"Obviously, everybody wants to get the pole," Taylor said. "However, it's a 24-hour race, and Max did only about five laps today before qualifying. So seventh is a good place to be. Most importantly, Max says the car keeps getting better and better. So we think we have a really good race car. Now, we just have to concentrate on getting all the systems worked out and making sure we run a clean race. If we do that, we'll be okay. We've always believed, as we saw last year at the end of the season, that we have a really good car. But in order to win this race, you've got to have a car that's easy to drive for all of the drivers. You don't necessarily have to have the fastest car to win this race. And if you look at the time sheets, there's not a lot of separation between the fastest cars and the others."

-credit: str

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Series GRANDAM