Ford on pole, Chevy quickest for Daytona 24

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 30, 2003) -- The Rolex Sports Car Series held first round qualifying for this weekend's 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona today at Daytona International Speedway. Scott Maxwell put the ...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 30, 2003) -- The Rolex Sports Car Series held first round qualifying for this weekend's 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona today at Daytona International Speedway. Scott Maxwell put the #88 1-800-PITSHOP.COM Ford Focus Daytona Prototype of Multimatic on the pole with a 115.969 mph lap in 1:50.512, however it was Justin Bell clocking the quickest time in the #40 Xtremelens Corvette of Derhaag Motorsports with his 1:49.394 lap at 117.155 mph.

Maxwell was awarded the pole position per Grand American rules, which state that all the Daytona Prototypes will start at the front of the grid for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

"We are a little bit confused because these guys (Daytona Prototype teams) are kind of getting slower every time we go out onto the track. They were running 47s at beginning in December, 48s at the test and 50s today, but we were running exactly what we did during the test weekend. I don't know why they're sandbagging on me," joked Bell following qualifying.

"These races are rarely won from the pole," quipped David Donohue in response. Donohue will start the #58 Red Bull Porsche-powered FABCAR Daytona Prototype in the number two position on Saturday after recording a 1:50.775 lap at 115.694 mph.

"We weren't expecting this, that's for sure," said Maxwell of his first Rolex 24 pole. "And I have to thank David (Donohue) for giving me the world's greatest tow around the bank," he quickly added with a smile.

Porsche factory driver Marc Lieb grabbed the GT pole at the wheel of the #43 YES Network Porsche GT3 RS of Orbit Racing. Leib's 1:53.386 lap time at 113.030 mph was nearly a second quicker than the number two GT qualifier of Schumacher Racing/Champion Porsche. Sascha Maassen piloted the #98 Champion Porsche GT3 RS to a 1:54.264 lap at 112.161 mph.

"The car felt brilliant. With these tires, you only have one lap to do a really, really fast lap in qualifying. The first lap I had a few mistakes. But it was still a good lap and I was very happy," said Lieb of his GT pole-winning lap.

The #21 Team Seattle Nissan-powered Lola of Essex Racing was awarded the SportsRacing Prototype pole position for the Rolex 24 after the lap time posted by the #97 Lucchini Engineering Nissan-engined Lucchini was disqualified due to an illegal air box in post-qualifying technical inspection. The Team Seattle Lola, which is raising funds for the Seattle Children's Hospital, clocked a 1:56.898 lap at 109.888 mph.

Positions one through 36 were set during today's first round qualifying and the remaining slots on the grid for Saturday's 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona will be filled on Friday during second round qualifying at 9:45 a.m.

Tickets for the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at 386-253-RACE. SPEED Channel will provide 16 hours of live coverage of the Rolex 24 on Saturday, Feb. 1, 12:30 p.m.-9 p.m. ET, and Sunday, Feb. 2, 6 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. ET.

More information on the Rolex Sports Car Series is available online at www.grandamerican.com.

-garra-

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