Jan Magnussen qualified the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley of Wayne Taylor Racing on the pole for Saturday's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Grand Prix of Miami. Magnussen, the Danish veteran of Formula One, Champ Car and sports...
Jan Magnussen qualified the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley of Wayne Taylor Racing on the pole for Saturday's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Grand Prix of Miami.
Magnussen, the Danish veteran of Formula One, Champ Car and sports car racing who is co-driving with 2005 series co-champion Max Angelelli in the SunTrust Racing machine, turned in a fast lap of 1 minute, 14.321 seconds (an average of 111.409 mph) around the 2.3-mile, 11-turn Homestead (Fla.) Miami Speedway road circuit during this afternoon's 15-minute qualifying session. Magnussen's lap was the fastest among 46 car-and-driver combinations entered in Saturday afternoon's 400-kilometer race, Round 3 of 14 events on the 2007 schedule.
It was the sixth pole position for the fourth-year SunTrust Racing Rolex Series program, and Magnussen's second since he first put the blue No. 10 Pontiac on the pole at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., last August.
"I'm very happy with how things went both this afternoon (in qualifying) and this morning (in practice)," said Magnussen, who is riding a streak of seven finishes of fourth or better when co-driving the SunTrust Racing Pontiac with Angelelli, dating back to their victory together at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., last May. "For qualifying, we made some great improvements on the car. To be on pole for this race is very important for us, especially since it's a very big weekend for SunTrust with a lot of guests and a lot of very important people coming to the race. Hopefully, we can take this pole position and turn it into a win this time. We're tired of being in third! Seriously, I think we have a good car. We'll work a little bit more in the morning with the race setup. Like everybody else in qualifying, we were fast in the beginning, and it was more and more difficult to keep the life in the tire. But the car went well. Even when the tires went off, there was still good balance in the car. So, I'm looking forward to a good race car. Starting from the pole, of course, it makes it a lot easier -- at the beginning of the race, at least."
The SunTrust team has scored a pair of third-place finishes to start the 2007 season and sits in second place in the season-long championship, just three points behind the No. 01 entry of Telmex Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Team owner Wayne Taylor and four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon co-drove with Angelelli and Magnussen to the podium at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, and Angelelli and Magnussen followed with another solid third-place run in Mexico City earlier this month.
"Obviously this is an important race for us, not only because we have SunTrust and all these important guests, but also because of the championship," said Angelelli, who won this race two seasons ago, co-driving with Taylor en route to the series championship that year. "I've always said if we can maintain these performances -- finish in the top five all the time -- then we'll look really, really good for the championship. Today was a great day for SunTrust Racing, and we have to turn in a win tomorrow. Actually, we need to start winning races."
Taylor, who started this team just last fall, also took time to relish the moment but kept his focus on the season-long task at hand.
"Jan did a great job," Taylor said. "This is a big plus for the guys who have worked on this car -- to give Jan such great car for getting this pole. They've been working so tirelessly since September last year, and while we have two third-place positions, you know how morale goes up when you go out and get a lap like that and do something to put yourself out in front. It makes all the work worthwhile. Of course, with SunTrust here tomorrow, we're definitely out to win. And the main goal, of course, is the championship."