VIR: Doran-Lista qualifying report

ALTON, Va., Oct. 4 - At first it appeared that the Doran-Lista DORAN JE4 Toyota ...

ALTON, Va., Oct. 4 - At first it appeared that the Doran-Lista DORAN JE4 Toyota #27 had won its first pole in Grand American Rolex Series action Saturday at Virginia International Raceway, but the height of its gurney didn't pass the post-qualifying inspection so Didier Theys will have to start 18th overall and seventh in the Daytona Prototype class when the VIR 400 gets the green flag at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time tomorrow.

The car topped every practice session at VIR this weekend.

The pole ended up going to another car designed and built at the team's headquarters in Lebanon, Ohio, the Bell Motorsports DORAN JE4 Chevy #54. Andy Pilgrim qualified that car in 1:47.418 (109.591 mph), which was .581 of a second slower than Theys ran in qualifying before his time was disallowed.

The Doran-Lista DORAN J4 Toyota was put to the back of the regular Rolex Series field, with eligible Grand Am Cup cars filling out the 27-car starting lineup.

The 400-kilometer, 77-lap race will be broadcast on a same-day, delayed basis from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow on the SPEED network.

"It was just a mistake; we will just have to work harder tomorrow," Theys said when he learned he would have to start at the rear.

The team has worked hard on its set-up, its engine mapping and its electronics package here this weekend, and the car has been continually better each session.

"Bill [Auberlen, his co-driver] has helped with our electronics package; we're continuing to work on our engine mapping and our set-up; and we're making strides," continued Theys, of Scottsdale, Ariz. "We have a good car and we're working hard to make it even better."

Does the team's experience with its Dallara chassis help at all here with its work with the new DORAN JE4?

"Not really; with the Dallara the set-up is about 70 percent aerodynamic, and it's less aero with this car," Theys explained. "Mechanical grip is more important with the DORAN."

"Of course I wish that both the DORAN cars would have been on the front row, but we're making strides," said team owner Kevin Doran. "The Toyota engine is fantastic. The TRD [Toyota Racing Development] people have worked hard on the [engine] mapping and we've improved our electronics package a lot. I'm really happy with it.

"Goodyear brought the perfect tire for the sunny but cool weather conditions here this weekend and the track conditions," he added.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Didier Theys , Kevin Doran
Teams Toyota Racing