GT

Rolex 24 Thursday Report

Newsgroups: rec.autos.sport.info Organization: MNI - Motorsport News International Approved: jackd@motorsport.com From: Motorsport News International <press@motorsport.com> Followup-To: rec.autos.sport.misc Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 23:50:00 ...

Newsgroups: rec.autos.sport.info Organization: MNI - Motorsport News International Approved: jackd@motorsport.com From: Motorsport News International <press@motorsport.com> Followup-To: rec.autos.sport.misc Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 23:50:00 EST

David Reininger - Motorsport News International

Daytona Beach, Fl (January 28, 1999) - It looks like the story of the weekend may be the battle between Ford and Ferrari as the two marques have evenly split the top eight positions in today's round of qualifying. The front row is locked in from today's qualifying session with the Ford-powered No. 16 Riley and Scott of Dyson Racing taking the pole position. James Weaver captured the pole position by taking the Dyson entry for a tour of the circuit at 1:40.869. Weaver will be teamed with Rob Dyson, Stuart Hayner and Dorsey Schroeder in the No. 16 car.

Rounding out the front row is the first of the three Ferarri's splitting the Ford powered Dyson entries in today's qualifying. Didier Theys was just over a second slower than Weaver but was still fast enough to be locked into a front row starting position. "Starting first would be nice," said Theys. "It seems though that no one wins this race from the pole." Theys is back to defend his 1998 win in the Rolex 24 with a driver lineup very similar to last year's. Fredy Lienhard replaces Gianpiero Moretti with the rest of the team, Mauro Baldi and Arie Luyendyk, remaining the same.

In provisional qualifying, the Ferrari 333 SP chassis have taken positions 2,3,4 and 6 on the grid. Ford-powered Riley and Scott chassis are in the 5th and 8th positions in addition to the pole. In seventh position is the Ford-powered Lola B 98 Can Am entry.

Two of the new Lolas are entered for this weekend's race. Qualifying 11th, with a lap at 1:46.155 was the Lotus-powered Lola driven by Franz Conrad, Jan Lammers and Vincenzo Sospiri. The Lotus engine is a 3.6-liter, twin turbo, V8 which makes one of the most fantastic sounds in all of motor racing. It doesn't reach the screaming pitch of the Ferrari nor is it anything like the low growl of the American built engines. The distinctive sound of the Lotus is pleasing to the ear and yet still conveys the message that it's built for speed.

The Porsche stronghold on GT2 will face a serious challenge from Chevrolet and Dodge this year. The pair of GM Goodwrench Corvettes qualified first and third, split by a Viper. Four Porsches follow in the GT2 lineup until you find the Marcos LM 600 qualified in seventh position.

Ron Fellows put the new Corvette racer on the GT2 pole with a lap at 1:48.924. "This is the first full factory effort," Fellows said. "I've been involved in it since day one and to get the pole on our debut, it's just a great start."

Final Qualifying gets underway tomorrow at 1:00 for GT3, 1:45 for GT2 and GTT, and Can Am has their final qualifying session at 2:30.

The 37th Annual Rolex 24 at Daytona takes the green flag at 1:00 on Saturday afternoon with over 80 cars expected to compete.

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