After lapping the bucolic Virginia International Raceway just over a tenth of a second faster than Michael Valiante's SunTrust Racing Pontiac Dallara, Memo Rojas thought he had won his second Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series pole of the ...
After lapping the bucolic Virginia International Raceway just over a tenth of a second faster than Michael Valiante's SunTrust Racing Pontiac Dallara, Memo Rojas thought he had won his second Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series pole of the season. However, the rear wing on Rojas' Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley was found not to comply with Rolex Series rules during post- qualifying inspection and his qualifying time was disallowed, meaning that he will start from the back of the 19-car Daytona Prototype field in Saturday's Bosch Engineering 250 and Valiante will start from the pole.
"I think it's a big accomplishment for this team because a week ago this car didn't even have four wheels on it," said Valiante, referring to the collision last week in Mexico City between his teammate Max Angelelli and Matt Plumb that caused extensive damage to the rear of the SunTrust car. "The crew guys did a great job and the car's been great ever since we rolled it off the trailer, which was encouraging to them because they put so much time into it. Considering this car is so new and we haven't even had a full test day, it's a huge accomplishment for the SunTrust team. "
Valiante lapped the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course in 1:43.329, which was 0.176 seconds faster than Brian Frisselle's AIM Autosport Ford Riley.
"I kept saying to everybody that these guys have gone through a really hard time this year, and I've kept telling them it's going to turn around," added Wayne Taylor, the owner of the SunTrust Racing team. "The amount of work and energy that everyone's put in, things eventually come around for you, and this is just proof. After all the hard work - push-push-push - they deserve it. The team deserves it, Michael deserves it. No matter how they got it, they deserve it."
The Brumos Porsche Riley of David Donohue qualified third, followed by Joey Hand in the Alex Job Racing Porsche Crawford and Ricky Taylor's Beyer Racing Ford Crawford. Jon Fogarty originally qualified fourth but his time was also disallowed due to a non-compliant rear wing.
Rounding out the top-10 were the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola, the Doran Racing Ford Dallara, the Cheever Racing Pontiac Coyote, the Southard Motorsports Lexus Riley, and the second Doran Racing entry.
Dominick Farnbacher, driving the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Porsche, set the fastest time in GT class qualifying with a lap of 1:53.401. Andrew Davis was second fastest in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R, followed by the Stevenson Motorsports Corvette driven by James Gue.
"We made a little change on the car between the last session and the qualifying, and it was good," said Farnbacher, who arrived at the track early Saturday morning after travel delays. "The guys did an awesome job. They worked very fast and definitely the change helped. I tried to drive a few laps because I didn't drive a lot in the sessions before. I'm still tired from the long trip I had, so I just want to go to sleep. I think you cannot really see it right now, but I'm really happy and I'm proud of my guys."
Kelly Collins originally qualified second in the GT class in the No. 07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R, but his time was disallowed after his car was deemed to be too low during post-qualifying technical inspection.