Joe Jennings, Grand-Am Correspondent
Jordan Taylor claims the GT pole.
Minutes after being inducted into the Legends of the Glen at Watkins Glen International, Scott Pruett climbed into his BMW Riley Daytona Prototype and zoomed to the pole position for Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, the eighth race of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season.
In addition to ripping off the fastest lap in the final minute of qualifications, Pruett gave his Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team its first pole in two years and their fourth for the six-hour race. For Pruett, he earned his 14th Rolex Series pole.
The car had good balance, and we were able to roll the speed through the turns.
The winning pole speed was 120.818 miles per hour.
“I am shocked we got the pole, as I figured we would be in the top three,” Pruett said of his accomplishment. “It is great to be back (on the pole), and it is the first one in a long time for the TELMEX team. It was all we had, and we wrung every ounce out of the car. We made several changes this morning, and then it was a matter of stepping in, stepping up in the saddle and trying to yank one off. The car had good balance, and we were able to roll the speed through the turns.”
Memo Rojas will co-drive with Pruett in Sunday’s six-hour race.
Antonio Garcia topped the leader board until Pruett surpassed him, and he had to settle for second place in the Spirit of Daytona Corvette. His speed was 120.474 mph. For Sunday’s event, Garcia will be joined by Oliver Gavin and Richard Westbrook.
Said Garcia about his run for the pole, “The car was pretty good, and I ran a couple of consistent laps. I held back for one lap and then decided to go for it. It probably wasn’t my best lap, so I told my crew guys I probably wasn’t fast enough but they told me to pit. At that point, I thought I was still in the lead, but then Scott (Pruett) went faster. I thought I could go for another one, but this is a six-hour race and we are in the front row.”
Joao Barbosa put the Action Express Racing Corvette into the third position with a speed of 120.393 mph. Darren Law and J. C. France co-drive with Barbosa.
Max Angelelli timed fourth fastest in the SunTrust Racing Corvette at a speed of 120.082 mph. Ricky Taylor co-drives with Angelelli.
The Starworks Motorsport Ford of Alex Popow and Lucas Luhr timed fifth ahead of the second Action Express Racing entry of David Donohue and Terry Borcheller.
Starting seventh and eighth will be the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette of Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney with the Michael Shank Racing Ford of John Pew and Oswaldo Negri Jr. next in line.
Three additional Daytona Prototypes qualified for the upcoming race.
In GT qualifications, Jordan Taylor jumped into a new car, the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R, to claim the pole. The young Floridian scored his fifth career pole with the most recent pole coming in this race a year ago.
His speed was 110.475 mph, and his co-drivers are Matt Bell and Ronnie Bremer.
Said Taylor, “It was unexpected. We had been struggling all weekend, and we had our work cut out for us. The car came to life once we put on new tires and fuel. On the qualifying laps, I was flat-out all the way and luckily I stayed on all four wheels. And it was good enough for the pole. I love this track and the challenge of racing here.”
Second fastest in class was the APR Motorsport/Audi Sport Customer Racing Audi R8 of Frank Stippler and Marc Basseng.
Stippler made the qualification run and was chagrined to have missed out on the pole. “A Mazda spun in front of us on my first lap, so my second lap was destroyed. I am quite pleased with second place and being in the second row. It wasn’t a perfect lap, and it would have been a dream to be on the pole.”
Third in class was the AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 of Emil Assentato, Jeff Segal and Anthony Lazzaro.
Thirty-two cars qualified for the second-longest race of the Rolex Series season.
SPEED will telecast the Sahlen’s Six Hour of the Glen live starting at 11 a.m. on Sunday.