Alex Gurney will go down in the history books as being the first pole-sitter for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, having peddled his GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP to the top spot in qualifying for this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The two-time GRAND-AM champion turned a best lap of 1:38.270 in the 15-minute Prototype class qualifying session, edging out the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP of Richard Westbrook by 0.217 seconds.
“We get bragging rights for a couple days,” Gurney said. “It means a lot to us as a team. We’re only doing the North American Endurance Cup rounds, and maybe Austin as well, so we want to put our best foot forward.
“The team worked incredibly hard over the offseason. It feels very good to be up top.”
It marked an all-Corvette DP front row, with the top seven positions swept by Daytona Prototype machinery.
Gurney will share the wheel of the Riley-chassied DP with Jon Fogarty, Darren Law and Memo Gidley, one of the few all-American driver lineups in this year’s race.
The No. 78 Starworks Motorsport Riley-Dinan will start an impressive third overall, thanks to newly signed Porsche LMP1 factory driver Brendon Hartley’s 1:38.525 lap time set in the Kiwi’s final lap.
Hartley edged out the two Action Express Racing Corvette DPs of Christian Fittipaldi and Burt Frisselle, who completed the top-five respectively.
The No. 0 DeltaWing DWC13 of Katherine Legge qualified eighth overall with a 1:39.270 lap time, which outran all six of the P2 cars, the quickest being the Lucas Luhr-driven Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Oreca 03 Nissan, which was 11th overall and more than 1.5 seconds adrift from the pole-sitting DP.
In fact, PC cars out-qualified four of the six P2 entries.
CORE autosport will start from the front of the Prototype Challenge field, thanks to a late flyer by Colin Braun.
Braun reeled off a 1:31.777 lap time with just minutes left on the clock to go quickest in class. He outran the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09 of Renger van der Zande, whose 1:41.815 time had topped the time charts of much of the 15-minute session.
Pole-sitter Braun will share the wheel of the No. 54 entry with Mark Wilkins, James Gue and team owner Jon Bennett.
Van der Zande held onto second in class for the Peter Baron-led Starworks squad, ahead of the No. 09 RSR Racing entry, qualified by Bruno Junqueira, in third.
The 38 Performance Tech car (Rafa Matos) and the No. 08 RSR entry (Alex Tagliani) completed the top-five in class.
Eight of the nine PC cars set times, with the No. 25 8Star Motorsports car remaining in the garage after suffering axle failure in this afternoon’s practice.
The GTLM class saw the SRT Viper capture the class pole in the brand’s return to the race as a factory effort.
Marc Goossens took the No. 91 Viper GTS-R to a best lap of 1:44.506. The Belgian, who will co-drive with Dominik Farnbacher and Ryan Hunter-Reay, edged out the the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy by 0.076 seconds.
“It was a good run,” Goossens said. “We were strong here when we tested. It’s always a matter of where the competition is at.
“Sometimes we know we can get a little bit faster in the infield; maybe give up a little on the straightaways. It’s always trying to find a right balance, and we seem to have enough over the competition.
“It’s good to see the Vipers 1 and 3 for the start of the 24 hours.”
Jonathan Bomarito made it two SRT Vipers in the top three in the No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R at 1:44.617, while the debuting Corvette Racing C7.R was fourth in the hands of Oliver Gavin. Patrick Long completed the top-five in class in his No. 912 Porsche.
In GTD, Paul Miller Racing scored the inaugural class pole, in the hands of Christopher Haase aboard the No. 48 Audi R8 LMS.
Haase was the only driver to clock a lap in the 1:46 range, edging out the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 of Toni Vilander and the Oliver Jarvis-driven No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports Audi for the top spot.
A 90-minute night practice session gets underway at 6:30 p.m. ET.
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FOX has all your coverage of Rolex 24 at Daytona!
TV Schedule (Saturday, Jan. 25-26):
- 1:30 p.m. ET Pre-Race begins on Fox Sports 2
- 2-4 p.m. ET on FOX
- 4-9 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2
- 9 p.m.-7 a.m. ET on IMSA.com
- 7 a.m.-3 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1
A one-of-a-kind experience will also be available by viewing multiple on-board cameras during the action!
You can also stream the full race by now using the new FOX Sports Go Mobile App!
Click HERE to download the FOX Sports GO Mobile App.
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“Road to Rolex 24″ Documentary
Race fans can gear up for this weekend’s Rolex 24 by watching a special documentary titled “Road to Rolex 24″ that will premiere at 7 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 on Thursday, Jan. 23.
The one-hour preview of the 52nd Rolex 24 – the first race for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship – includes interviews with teams and drivers, in addition to segments detailing the historical background of the event and the prestige that comes along with winning the Rolex 24.
Encore showings will air Friday, Jan. 24 at noon ET on FOX Sports 1 and Saturday, Jan. 25 at noon ET on FOX Sports 2.
• • •Rolex 24, Sports Cars