Daytona 24: Thursday qualifying report

Pruett Takes Second Consecutive Rolex 24 At Daytona Pole Position DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 3, 2005) -- For the second consecutive year, Scott Pruett put the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley on the pole position for the ...

Pruett Takes Second Consecutive Rolex 24 At Daytona Pole Position

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 3, 2005) -- For the second consecutive year, Scott Pruett put the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley on the pole position for the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway which begins Saturday, February 5 at 12:00 Noon ET (SPEED Channel, Live).

Pruett, the 2004 Daytona Prototype co-champion, toured the 3.56-mile speedway road course in 1:46.928 (119.856 mph), en route to his fifth overall pole position in Rolex Series competition. It was also Pruett's third consecutive Rolex Series pole at Daytona International Speedway, as he also placed the No. 01 machine on the inside of the front row for the Paul Revere 250 presented by Brumos Porsche last July. On Saturday, the No. 01 machine will start from the pole position for the 12th time in its 13 races, and extends a streak of consecutive pole positions for the car to eight races dating to the 2004 season.

"Everything went right out there for us today," said Pruett. "Coming here with CompUSA and Chip Ganassi Racing for the second straight year and getting the pole position is just great. The preparation from the team is simply second to none-- you just can't beat that kind of effort. The pole is definitely beneficial to get the weekend started on the right foot. They say a good start lets you avoid the mess at the back."

Starting second will be Max Angelelli in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley after the Italian logged a best lap of 1:46.945 (119.837 mph). Like Pruett, Angelelli will also start from the same position as last year. Throughout the 2004 Rolex Series season, Pruett and then-co-driver Max Papis battled head-to-head with Angelelli and his co-driver and car owner Wayne Taylor for pole positions and race victories. Based on today's qualifying results, it appears that battle has picked up where it left off last year.

"I'm happy to be on the front row, especially this year in front of so many famous drivers, quick drivers and good cars," Angelelli said. "But it's disappointing when you cannot get the pole and you've basically been fastest all day long, so my enjoyment is cut 50 percent. This race is so different to the others because it can be anything. It can be good, it can be bad. Of course, we have a good car, I think we're fast, but the race is 24 hours--one day--and anything can happen."

Starting third will be Papis, who clocked a best lap of 1:46.945 (119.837 mph) in his new No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley. It will be the first time since the 2004 Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen that Papis hasn't started from the pole position.

Pruett's pole-winning performance led a three-car assault from the Chip Ganassi Racing stable, all of which qualified inside the top five. In his Daytona Prototype debut, Sweden's Stefan Johansson placed the No. 02 New Century Mortgage Lexus Riley fourth on the starting grid on the strength of a best lap at 1:47.260 (119.485 mph). IRL IndyCar Series star Scott Dixon placed the third Ganassi entry fifth on the grid, running a best time of 1:47.480 (119.241 mph) in the No. 03 Target Lexus Riley.

The top eight cars qualified within one second of each other, and today's top-30 qualifiers have locked in positions for the race. Friday will feature a second qualifying session for cars qualified outside the top 30, as well as for those cars that did not make a qualifying attempt.

HENZLER CLAIMS TOP SPOT IN GT QUALIFYING

In his first Rolex Series appearance, German Wolf Henzler placed the No. 71 Farnbacher Racing Porsche GT3 Cup on the GT class pole position. Henzler logged a best lap of 1:55.958 (110.523 mph), topping the next closest qualifier by more than half a second.

"Last year I raced in Europe in the Porsche Supercup and the German Porsche Cup," Henzler said. "This is my first race at Daytona. My first time here was in the test four weeks ago, and that was also my first time running on banking. It is fantastic. When I first saw it I felt it would be easy to learn, but after a few laps I realized it was really difficult."

Qualifying second on the GT grid was Randy Pobst in the No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup on the strength of a lap at 1:56.474 (110.033 mph). This weekend's race will be the first time that TPC Racing--which won the Rolex Series Super Grand Sport (SGS) team championship in 2004--will compete in the newly-reconfigured GT class. Andy Lally--who won the SGS driver co-championship with TPC Racing last year--put the No. 65 TRG Porsche GT3 Cup third on the GT grid with a lap at 1:56.567 (109.945 mph), followed by Johannes van Overbeek in the No. 75 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup at 1:57.110 (109.436 mph). Robin Liddell took the final locked-in spot by qualifying fifth on the GT grid and 30th overall with a lap at 1:57.298 (109.260 mph) in the No. 73 Baldwin-Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup.

-garra-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Stefan Johansson , Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Robin Liddell , Randy Pobst , Andy Lally , Max Angelelli , Johannes van Overbeek , Chip Ganassi , Wolf Henzler
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing , Krohn Racing