Daytona, Florida - RSR Racing kicked off the first day of on-track activities with a solid qualifying effort in both the number 09 Lino'spresso and the number 08 AutoMaxUSA.com Oreca FLM 09 Prototype Challenge cars as part of the 52nd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The team showed that they're prepared to compete for the inaugural TUDOR United Sports Car Championship in the PC class by qualifying 3rd and 5th for the seasons longest and most grueling event at the 3.56 mile Daytona International Speedway.
"I am happy with the qualify, I really tried hard to be on the pole but we made a little mistake on the tire pressure," remarked Junqueira. "I think we are competitive, that's the most important. It's a long race. I'll start in a good position, and in a good pace. Let's make a clean race and be reliable, that's the key."
Alex Tagliani conquered the daunting task of taking a brand new racecar that just saw the race track for the first time today and qualified 5th in class and 20th overall. The Canadian set a fast lap time of 1:42:187, a mere 4/10th of a second from the PC Class pole position. Tagliani, the 2011 Indy 500 Pole Sitter, believes the team will be competitive as more laps are run.
"You always feel with a few more laps and time you would be better. If I would have been here for the Roar I think I would have been more ready," explained Tagliani. "Being within 4/10th of guys who have thousand of laps in these cars I am pretty happy, and happy for the team. There is more in the car and more in me so hopefully we can be there at the end of the twenty-four and have a good showing for the team and everyone."
Junqueira will be joined by 2013 teammate Duncan Ende plus Gustavo Menezes and David Heinemeier Hansson for the prestigious endurance race. Chris Cumming, Rusty Mitchell and Conor Daly will join Tagliani as the RSR Racing team looks to sit atop the podium for the 52nd running of the world famous twice around the clock event known as the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Duncan Ende on what it will take to win the 24 hour race: "We got fairly minimal laps but the car is feeling comfortable. I think we are going to have a good race car, the balance is pretty drivable. For the 24 hour, it going to be a question of making good decisions and not making bad decisions and keeping out of the way of people making their own bad decisions. From that stand point we're looking good so as long as we make good choices we'll be fine."
David Heinemeier Hansson's thoughts on racing under the lights at Daytona: "Of all the tracks that I've driven in the dark this is probably the easiest. Everything is very well lit, there are no corners that are sketchy because you can't see. It's nice to have the night for atmosphere but it's not as much of a challenge as it is at some other tracks. I was comfortable in the car, it felt good."
Gustavo Menezes looking forward to a strong finish: "We just got in the car enough to get a rhythm and that's all I really needed. To know where my reference points on the track are for tomorrow, we'll have six laps but we'll be in good shape. I've known Bruno for a while and know he can handle that thing, together with him and the consistency from David and Duncan that we need I think we can put some strong stuff together this weekend."
Chris Cumming on improving the 08 AutoMaxUSA.com chances for the win: "I think we made a lot of progress today. Earlier in the day we were really feeling behind the gun. We all got a chance to put in some laps today and I think the car is in a pretty good spot. We can always tweak on it some more but I think it is less about the car and more about getting our procedures down, pit stops and driver changes. That's what is going to make the difference between winning and losing."
Rusty Mitchell on getting more comfortable in the race car: "I'm comfortable with the team. The car is fast for sure. I need to change a little bit of the seat that I'm in and get a little more comfortable for driving and just get more time in the car."
Conor Daly on running under the lights at Daytona: "It's really cool, a good experience. It's nice to finally get a couple consecutive laps in the car and it's feeling really good to me. It's all new to me also. It's getting up to speed and the team has done a great job with Alex to get to this point so I'm looking forward to the race."