Homestead: Qualifying report

Magnussen Claims Second Career Rolex Series Pole in Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami Qualifying HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 23, 2007) -- For second time in his Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve ...

Magnussen Claims Second Career Rolex Series Pole in Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami Qualifying

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 23, 2007) -- For second time in his Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve career, Danish racer Jan Magnussen will start from the pole position when the field takes the green flag in Saturday's Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway (SPEED, Live, 2:00 p.m. ET).

Magnussen clocked a best lap at 1:14.321 (111.409 mph) in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley he is sharing with 2005 Daytona Prototype co-champion Max Angelelli. Magnussen and Angelelli head into Saturday's race still looking for their first victory of the season, but have finished third in the first two races of the 2007 Rolex Series campaign. The duo has also finished inside the top-five positions in its last nine races as co-drivers dating to last season.

"I'm very happy with how things went both this afternoon and this morning," Magnussen said. "For qualifying, we made some great improvements on the car. To be on pole for this race is very important for us especially since it's a very big weekend for SunTrust with a lot of guests and a lot of very important people. Hopefully, we can take this pole position and turn it into a win this time. We're tired of being in third"

Starting second will be Jon Fogarty in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley following a best qualifying lap at 1:14.509 (111.128 mph). Fogarty and co-driver Alex Gurney claimed their first Rolex Series victory three weeks ago in the Mexico City 400k and are looking to make it two-in-a-row this weekend. It is also the third-consecutive race in which the No. 99 machine will start from the front row, as Gurney started the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona from the pole position and Fogarty started second in Mexico City.

"It feels great to have achieved the third straight front row start for the GAINSCO Auto Insurance team," Fogarty said. "The car was good. It is my first time competing here in Daytona Prototypes, and my first time here in a long time, actually six years or so. We knew we would be quick but are especially pleased because the car was good all nine laps. It didn't fall off at all which means I think we have a very good race car."

Starting third will be defending Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami champion Patrick Long in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford. Long turned-in a best lap at 1:14.559 (111.053 mph) in the car he will co-drive with defending Daytona Prototype champion Jorg Bergmeister. It is the best starting position of the season for the No. 23 machine.

"I'm very happy with third place," Long said. "The team did an awesome job of staying persistent and improving the car every time we've gone onto the track. We actually focused on race setup during practice, so to be this far forward in qualifying is a nice surprise. Hopefully, we can make it last throughout the race and lock in a podium finish."

Starting fourth will be 18-year-old Colin Braun in the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley with a lap at 1:14.698 (110.846 mph). Braun, who is making his first start at Homestead-Miami Speedway since 2005, is sharing the car with 2004 Daytona Prototype co-champion and Miami Beach resident Max Papis. Braun and Papis narrowly missed taking their first win of the season earlier this month at Mexico City and finished second.

Darren Law completed the top five in the No. 58 Red Bull/Brumos Racing Porsche Riley. Law turned a best lap at 1:14.712 (110.826 mph), and is sharing the No. 58 machine with David Donohue. Law is looking for his first Rolex Series overall race victory, while Donohue is looking for his first win since 2003. The top-eight cars qualified within one second of the pole winner.

KEEN TAKES FIRST CAREER CLASS POLE IN MIAMI

Driving the No. 85 Shoes for Crews/Recaro Porsche GT3 for Farnbacher Loles Motorsports, Leh Keen earned his first career Rolex Series class pole position in GT qualifying for the Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami. Keen will share the No. 85 machine with Dominik Farnbacher, and the duo is looking to improve on its second place class result three weeks ago in Mexico City.

"The speed is there, but it is just going to be a question of tire management," Keen said. "Winning the pole was just a matter of a few tenths here or there, but the race is going to really come down to tire wear. The Porsches are good on tires for the first three or four laps but the Mazdas just seem to get longer wear out of them. It was that way in Mexico and it may be worse here. On the plus side, we have Porsche reliability and an awesome team in Farnbacher Loles. We also have 40 guests from Shoes for Crews coming tomorrow. It will be a good race, but it will just come down to tires."

Starting second in GT will be Mexico City winner Nick Ham in the No. 70 Mazda/Mazdaspeed RX-8 for Sunrise, Fla.-based SpeedSource. Ham posted a best lap at 1:20.439 (102.935 mph) and will again share the No. 70 with team owner Sylvain Tremblay, with whom he drove to the victory in Mexico.

"The car is great," Ham said. "We really wanted the pole as this is the home race for SpeedSource, but we have still made good progress. When we came here and tested in November, we had some pretty long faces. We had some work to do but with the David Haskell on the technical side and the leadership of team owner Sylvain Tremblay the team worked really hard to get the car where we wanted it. Now we are much more comfortable with where we are and the Mazda RX-8 is a great car, on the track and on the street, and we want to get a win for Mazda at our home track."

Eric Lux qualified third in GT with a lap at 1:20.943 (102.294 mph) in the No. 74 Rembrandt Charms Porsche GT3 for Tafel Racing. Lux is looking for his first Rolex Series GT win, and is paired in the No. 74 machine with German racer Wolf Henzler, a six-time GT class race winner.

"We absolutely have more speed in the car," said Lux. "We were on our fast lap and putting everything together when the caution came out and it really hurt us. I could only get within a one tenth of where we would have been after that. We tried some things in practice this morning, some pretty drastic changes, but we switched back to where we were yesterday and that was the way to go. Tomorrow we will just have to conserve our tires. Porsches are known for some heavy wear because of the banking and we need to be aware of that. The Mazdas and the Pontiacs will have better wear but we should be initially faster so that is when we will have to build our advantage."

Kelly Collins qualified fourth in class in the No. 07 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R with a lap at 1:21.164 (102.016 mph). Collins and co-driver Paul Edwards are the defending GT winners of the Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami. Nathan Swartzbaugh completed the top five in the No. 72 North South Machinery/ANCA/Dunkel Bros. Porsche GT3 with a lap at 1:21.281 (101.869 mph). Swartzbaugh will share the Tafel Racing machine with Andrew Davis.

-credit: garra

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alex Gurney , Paul Edwards , Jan Magnussen , Max Papis , Jon Fogarty , Colin Braun , Kelly Collins , David Haskell , Darren Law , David Donohue , Jörg Bergmeister , Max Angelelli , Sylvain Tremblay , Patrick Long , Andrew Davis , Nick Ham , Wolf Henzler , Lehman Keen , Eric Lux , Bob Stallings , Nathan Swartzbaugh
Teams SpeedSource