Three Pontiacs paced the second round of qualifying Friday for the 44th Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. In the Daytona Prototype class, the SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley of Max Angelelli was the second fastest qualifier yesterday...
Three Pontiacs paced the second round of qualifying Friday for the 44th Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. In the Daytona Prototype class, the SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley of Max Angelelli was the second fastest qualifier yesterday during Rolex Sports Car Series first round qualifying. But the SunTrust car failed post-qualifying inspection due to a splitter that was deemed too wide by Grand American officials, forcing the Italian to re-qualify Friday. Angelelli's time of 1:45.702 was well off yesterday's pace, but good enough for 29th overall.
Lucas Luhr will start from the pole Saturday in the No. 23 Alex Job Racing/Emory Motorsports Porsche Crawford, and Scott Dixon will be right beside Luhr in the No. 02 Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley.
Angelelli will share the SunTrust car with Wayne Taylor, Emmanuelle Collard, and Ryan Briscoe. Taylor, Angelelli, and Collard won last year's Rolex 24. "Max did an outstanding job putting the car on the front row," said Taylor, who shared the drivers' championship last year with Angelelli.
"To lose it for three sixteenths of an inch on a part of the car that did not result in any performance gain or loss. It was just pretty much the plywood that is used to stop the car from crashing into the ground. But the rules are the rules. We didn't make it, so we were thrown out," continued Taylor. "It is a good thing to know that Grand-Am is really going to enforce everything. What was more disturbing, though, is that it had gone through tech before qualifying. That sort of says something."
Although Taylor was disappointed about being disqualified yesterday, he says he's not particularly worried about starting so far back in the 66-car field. "I think it's only going to affect us at the start of the race. It's a 24-hour race. Given what's happened in this week's practice and the practice before hand, there's going to be a lot of cautions. As long as we're not part of causing a caution, we will be okay.
"We're going to start 29th. First lap is going to be potentially a big mess. But that's not my problem that's going to be Max's problem. We've got a good team. We've got good drivers. We're going to be alright. We have a good race car, and that's all we need really. We just need to have a good car at 12 o'clock Sunday."
In the GT class, the TRG Pontiac GTO.Rs were second and third in second round qualifying, with both cars posting faster times than yesterday. The No. 64 car of Paul Edwards turned a lap of 1:53.861 and will start fourth in class, just ahead of the No. 65 car of Andy Lally. Wolf Henzler secured the GT class pole yesterday in the No. 72 Tafel Racing Porsche.
The GTO.Rs were strong in pre-season testing, have not yet lived up to pre- race expectations. "We tried a few things and they didn't work," said Lally of the changes the team implemented yesterday. "So we went back on a few things and it worked again. It's one of these things where we are experimenting and it can be frustrating sometimes because sometimes the experiments don't go as well as planned. But sometimes they work. It's expected and we know it's going to happen. Those days are still tough sometimes. But it's working now.
"I feel good about today's run. We've got a good race car right now. I didn't get everything out of the car in qualifying. I actually honestly had the chance, I just didn't do it. We had a couple of chances that got messed up on us, but it is what it is. We didn't show everything we've got, but it's a good piece.
"For the long haul, I'm actually excited because the balance is good and it's tunable. I like that a lot," Lally added. "Through the night I like it because the car runs better in the cold. It was doing really well in the cooler air - we've run fast."
In late-breaking news, the No. 3 Southard Motorsports BMW Riley, No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar, and No. 82 Farnbacher Racing Porsche were sent to the back of grid for failing to nominate their drivers in a timely fashion.
The 44th Rolex 24 will begin Saturday at noon and be broadcast on the Speed Channel.