Fogarty, Gurney Record Eighth Consecutive Grand-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Pole at Infineon Raceway SONOMA, Calif. (August 24, 2007) -- With the top three cars in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special ...
Fogarty, Gurney Record Eighth Consecutive Grand-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Pole at Infineon Raceway
SONOMA, Calif. (August 24, 2007) -- With the top three cars in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve separated by just four points with only two races remaining, the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley put a leg up on the competition by qualifying on the pole for Friday's Armed Forces Grand-Am 250 at Infineon Raceway.
Jon Fogarty, who with co-driver Alex Gurney trails the championship leaders by four points, turned a fast lap of 1:28.028 (103.058 mph) on the wine country road course - a new track record. Fogarty shot to the top of the time charts on the second lap of the session and improved his time on each of the next two laps.
The pole position was the No. 99 GAINSCO machine's ninth of the season and record eighth consecutive.
"It feels great," Fogarty said, "and it feels even better to have Nic starting next to me rather than (championship co-leaders) Scott Pruett or Max Angelelli's cars. The car was good, and we were fortunate to go out third for qualifying, because this place is pretty notorious for getting bunched up and not getting a clear lap. I was able to get past the No. 39 and 19 cars on my out lap, and I was able to click off a couple of unobstructed fast laps when the tires were at their best. And I did get the most out of the car, I think. It couldn't really be a better situation for the start of this race."
The session was stopped at the eight-minute mark of the 15-minute session when Roger Yasukawa spun the No. 11 SAMAX Pontiac Riley in Turn 2, collecting Hurley Haywood in the No. 59 Brumos Porsche Riley. With body damage from each car spread across the track, time expired before clean-up could be completed and ended the session.
Starting alongside Fogarty in the front row is Nic Jonsson, co-driving with Rolex Series newcomer Ricardo Zonta in the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley. Jonsson turned a time of 1:28.441 (102.577 mph) on his second lap of the session.
Krohn Racing is still searching for the team's first win of 2007. Though Zonta is new to the Daytona Prototype series, the team is hoping that the Renault Formula One team test driver's international experience will push the team to the top.
"He's obviously very experienced internationally," Jonsson said of Zonta. "He's raced Formula 3000 and Formula 1; his credentials speak for themselves. He came here this weekend having never seen the place before and never seen a Daytona Prototype before. We gave him about 20 minutes of the first session and the entire second session, and he adapted very quickly by the end of the day. That says a lot about him. He'll get used to the environment. Hopefully I can stay up front during my stint and give him a chance at taking the victory."
Despite the crash with the No. 59, all was not lost with the Brumos Porsche team. The No. 58 Red Bull Brumos Porsche Riley and Darren Law turned a fast lap of 1:28.605 mph (102.387 mph) and will start third on the grid. Law, making his record 96th Rolex Series start, will team with David Donahue for Friday's race.
"The car was good," said Law, who thought the car would have been a top-three qualifier even without the shortened period. "We were trying to figure out what to do in qualifying. We felt that it would be best to move to the back and get a gap, and it worked for us. I had maybe two clear laps, and that was good. We got a good time out of it, and the car felt really good. The guys have been working so hard and we've been so close so many times this year. So we're hoping to get on the podium here this weekend."
Memo Rojas placed the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Racing Lexus Riley in fourth position with a fastest lap of 1:28.611 (102.380 mph). Rojas' co-driver Scott Pruett is currently tied with Max Angelelli for the championship lead. Angelelli's teammate, Memo Gidley, will start the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley in sixth position for the Armed Forces Grand-Am 250.
Alex Lloyd, making his Daytona Prototype debut at Infineon, will start fifth in the No. 19 Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Racing Z-Line Designs/Mission Racing Lexus Riley. Lloyd, the Indy Pro Series championship points leader, will co-drive with Michael Valiante as a replacement driver for Rob Finlay, who is out with an injured shoulder.