Daytona 24: The Racer's Group Thursday report

TRG disallowed from Qualifying but go 2-3-4 fastest; Ehret departs for birth of daughter. Daytona, FL -- January 29, 2004 - The three Porsches of The Racer's Group were 2nd, 3rd and 4th fastest today in the preliminary qualifying session for the...

TRG disallowed from Qualifying but go 2-3-4 fastest; Ehret departs for birth of daughter.

Daytona, FL -- January 29, 2004 - The three Porsches of The Racer's Group were 2nd, 3rd and 4th fastest today in the preliminary qualifying session for the upcoming Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, but the cars will start the race no higher than 31st on Saturday due to a slight technical infraction. Along with several other Rolex Series teams, TRG missed the deadline for officially nominating qualifying drivers, and will be penalized by being forced to re-qualify on Friday. The highest starting position any of the TRG cars can hope to achieve is 13th in class.

Pierre Ehret, driver of the #67 car and owner of the Flamingo Resort and Hotel in Santa Rosa, California, had to abruptly leave the track today, due to the impending birth of his first daughter, Isabelle. Pierre has two sons, Alexander and Christian, but Isabelle will be the first daughter for him. "I'm excited and sad at the same time," he said, "while I'm upset that I'm missing all of the practice sessions, I couldn't be leaving for a better reason. I'm thrilled that I'm about to become a father for the third time -- hopefully she'll let me come back in time for the start of the race!"

Team owner Kevin Buckler, who along with Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister are defending overall Champions of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, commented on the events of the day. "I'm proud of all of our drivers and crew," he said. "It's a fantastic accomplishment for the team to put all three cars in the top four in the qualifying session, but unfortunately we had a little issue with the timing of our paperwork regarding nominating the qualifying driver for each car. We explained to Grand-Am that we're just a little bit busy trying to prepare three cars for this race-- it is a 24-hour race, however, and we proved that we have the pace in all three cars to run at the front. This is just one more obstacle for us to overcome, and we'll get past it."

Ian James, who drove the #68 Porsche 3rd fastest in today's qualifying session, expressed confidence about his car's setup. "The car is very good," he said. "We were still on the pole with three minutes to go in the qualifying session, but a couple of people slipped past us in the last laps. Still, we're very happy, considering how strong the cars ahead of us are, and our speed relative to them. I'm feeling very positive for the race - every time we get back on the track the car gets better and better. We're looking forward to a smart race and a strong finish."

Robert Nearn, who drove the #67 Monster Cable/TRG Porsche to 4th fastest in today's qualifying session, was enthusiastic about the team's performance on the day. "Because of several incidents on the track during qualifying," he said, "no one really got a great shot at laying down some fast laps. Out of a 15-minute session, a black flag and then a yellow one held us all up. Nevertheless, I'm happy to be in the fastest four, and our car is looking great for the race. It's set up rather soft, so we won't have to make any major changes to the car should we experience bad weather or anything of the like."

The latest pictures and the most recent developments from TRG and Daytona can be seen at: http://www.theracersgroup.com/team/daytona_04.htm

Monster is the world's leading manufacturer of high performance cables for home, car and professional use as well as computers and computer games. Monster Power®, a division of Monster Cable, provides AC power conditioning and protection products as well as a complete line of PowerCells.

Safety and performance. That is what we are all about at CDOC, whether it's for a racecar or streetcar. And that's why both amateurs and professionals alike come back again and again. We are known for being trustworthy, knowledgeable and dependable.

Carlsen Porsche, in Palo Alto, California, is Northern California's largest volume Porsche dealer. In business since 1973, Carlsen is one of the few dealerships in America to be named a Porsche Premier Dealer more than 10 consecutive years. The Racer's Group is a manufacturer and distributor of high performance Porsche parts, an engine and chassis building and tuning facility, a full service Porsche prep facility, and a professional race team. Additionally, they provide electrical and mechanical engineering services, driver development and "arrive and drive" services. The Racer's Group is based at Infineon Raceway, formerly Sears Point Raceway, in Sonoma, Calif.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kevin Buckler , Ian James , Jörg Bergmeister , Timo Bernhard , Pierre Ehret , Robert Nearn