Daytona 24: TRG/TRG East first qualifying report

The No. 65 Auto Gallery/TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car will start third on the GT grid after the first qualifying session for the 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Andy Lally posted a qualifying lap of one minute 56. 567 seconds on the 3.56-mile Daytona ...

The No. 65 Auto Gallery/TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car will start third on the GT grid after the first qualifying session for the 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Andy Lally posted a qualifying lap of one minute 56. 567 seconds on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway infield road course. Because he qualified in the top 30 overall, his start position is locked in for the race. The other TRG and TRG East cars will have the opportunity to qualify again on Friday or hold their Thursday qualifying times for the final grid.

"We qualified third; I'm content with that for now. We had a really good handle on the car," Lally said. "Lars [Giersing] and the crew have done a great job at giving me the car that I needed to qualify, and the car that the rest of the guys need to do a solid job in the 24. Right now, I just want to focus on getting the nuts and bolts tight and letting these guys work on getting this car healthy for 24 hours, because they've certainly done a good job already getting it fast."

long commute

The five No. 62 Porsche Club Japan drivers traveled a total 39,725 miles to drive in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Akira Hirakawa had the longest trip -- 43 hours from his home in Hiroshima to Daytona, the equivalent of almost two 24-hour races. The drivers combat jetlag by sleeping and eating on local time, plus running and golf. But, Kiichi Takahashi noted, since they're in Florida to compete in a 24-hour race, "It's not necessary to fix the jetlag!"

strategic play

TRG East knows the importance of race strategy, especially in a 24-hour event. The No. 61 Porsche drivers will have the support of a dedicated strategy team, led by engineer Jim Malicki. They will monitor and act on every item that could give the team an edge on track.

"We have a full crew of four people assigned just to strategy, so we can make educated decisions instead of having to guess at where we're at on the track and what we need to do,"Malicki said. "Given the fact that all the team members are experienced at what they're doing in long races and our drivers are consistent, we'll be hard to beat on strategy."

-trg-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Lally , Akira Hirakawa , Kiichi Takahashi