TRG Qualifies on Front Row in Effort to Win Third Rolex; Lally narrowly misses pole
67 rolex qual Daytona Beach, Florida, TRG has taken the first step towards winning their third Grand-Am Rolex Series Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona GT race. Andy Lally put the No.67 Construct Corps/CRG/No Fear Energy Drinks/K1 Speed/Voodoo Ride/Gemstone Winery/TRG Porsche GT3 on the front row for Saturday's Rolex 24 start at 3:30 p.m.
Lally posted a time of 1:49.540 that will see him go away from the start on the outside of the front row. Lally shares the seat with Justin Marks, RJ Valentine, Patrick Long and Joerg Bergmeister. Lally had the fastest time of the qualifying session right up to the last lap when he was eclipsed by a Mazda.
"We went faster than I thought," Lally said. "The whole GT field went faster. When I put the lap in we were still in danger of losing it. At that point I was starting to go slower and I just pulled in to the paddock. I just got to the tech barn and stopped and my crew said we lost it. I thought he was kidding. But he told me it was the 70 car. I had mixed emotions, but if I was going to loose it to anybody he is the one I would give it up to today." Driver of the No. 70 Mazda Sylvan Tremblay lost his wife, Carol, in a car accident in December.
Spencer Pumpelly drove the No. 66 AXA/Mitchell Rubber/Wealth Management Strategies/TRG Porsche GT3 to a seventh place qualifying effort with a time of 1:50.109. Pumpelly was fighting the cars handling and knows there is room for improvement. Pumpelly will have support from teammates Ted Ballou, Tim George Jr., Emmanuel Collard and Richard Lietz.
"It is disappointing after all of the speed that we showed at the test," Pumpelly said. "I had a lot of oversteer into the car and it feels really loose in the fast stuff. We will have a talk with our teammates, look at the data and make some adjustments in the remaining practices to have a strong car for the race."
Marco Holzer piloted the No. 65 Riegel/Stanton/Cystic Fibrosis Foundation/65 Roses/Magnus Racing/Marquis Jet/Resorts International/IPC/Total Lubricants/TRG Porsche GT3 to a 1:50.445 qualifying effort that will see him start tenth in GT. Holzer is joined in the 65 by John Potter, Bryce Miller and Craig Stanton.
"The car handled better in qualifying than in practice," Holzer said. "I had a lot of traffic and could not get a clean lap. I have a few more tenths in the car. We have a couple of more practices to get the car perfect for the race and get everyone comfortable. Tenth place is a good place to start for a 24 hour race."
Steve Miller had the controls of the No. 68 James Farrell & Co./Pallis Properties, Inc./COLO Columbia River Logistics/Cohen Financial/TRG Porsche GT3. Miller put in a time of 1:52.571 that will have him starting from the 13th row in GT. Miller is joined in the 68 by co-drivers Josemanuel Gutierrez, Chris Pallis, Duncan Ende, and Scott Schroeder.
"We are still trying to figure out the handling of our car," Steve Miller said. "We just didn't have enough front bite in the car to get through the corners fast. We left a lot of time out there. We are 85 percent there, the trick is to get the last 15 percent."
Bruce Ledoux drove the No. 63 Guardian Angel Motorsports/Children's Hospital Boston/ jetblue.com /Cavallino Group/www.guardianangelmotorsports.com/TRG Porsche GT3 to a time of 1:53.366 that will have him start from the 13th row. Ledoux is joined in the 63 by David Quinlan, Dan Watkins, Steve Zadig and Kurt Kossmann.
"The TRG guys have done a killer job on the car today," Ledoux said. "We had an off this morning and we really didn't miss much track time. The only loose nut was behind the wheel. I think I did 10 laps all day and in qualifying that was seven through 10. If I had 10 more I know I could have gone at least a second faster. We had some oversteer in the Horse Shoe corner that we need to work out of the car."
Team owner Kevin Buckler is pleased with the way the day went.
"We almost had the pole," Buckler said. "The Mazda is 500 lbs. lighter, so it is light and fast. Overall I am happy with the way the day went. We have several happy cars and one we are still dialing in, so we will go to work on that for tonight's practice. The drivers and crew are really working well together and we have an excellent shot at doing well come Sunday."