Gurney takes top spot for Rolex 24 At Daytona

Alex Gurney on pole
Courtesy of IMSA

The urge to merge has evolved into a compulsion to compete, and Thursday marked the first day of actual competition for the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, with qualifying for this weekend's Rolex 24 At Daytona.

The 52nd running of the Rolex 24 opens the first season for the TUDOR Championship, which resulted from the highly anticipated merger of two formerly competing sports car organizations — the American Le Mans Series and the GRAND-AM Rolex Series. A total of 67 cars are slated to take the green flag Saturday at 2:10 p.m. ET, for the 24-hour endurance classic; Thursday, four cars claimed respective class pole positions on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course.

Start with the headlining Prototype (P) class, an amalgam of the ALMS' exotic P2 and DeltaWing cars and the Rolex Series' Daytona Prototypes, where a history-rich name took center stage on a day that was so much about the future.

Alex Gurney, son of legendary driver Dan Gurney — who won the first incarnation of the Rolex 24, a three-hour event in 1962 called the Daytona Continental — put the No. 99 Corvette DP on the overall pole with a fast lap of 1 minute, 38.270 seconds (130.416 mph). Gurney and his longtime co-driver Jon Fogarty — two-time champions in the Rolex Series — are joined this week by Memo Gidley and Darren Law. Somewhat surprisingly, the Gurney-Fogarty combination has never produced a Rolex 24 win.

“We are obviously really excited and really happy about winning the pole," Gurney said. “It’s been a difficult off-season, and I have to say a big thank you to Bob Stallings and everybody on the team. I think most of the team worked right through Christmas and New Year’s, with no real time off for them. With all the rules changes there have been a lot of challenges. This means a lot to us and to all our team. We aren’t set for the whole season, and this is one of our times to shine. I feel really good to have pulled it off winning the pole."

Team owner Bob Stallings celebrated on pit road with his pole winning driver, having first captured the pole seven years ago.

“A lot of people have a tendency to say, it’s not that big of a deal. But it is a big deal," Stallings said. “This is the first pole ever in the new combined series. This is in the history books as the first one, and people will remember that. We are the fastest sports car in the world right now in 2014, and that’s exciting. It’s a great lift to the team, and I’m very proud of the team."

Gurney acknowledged the satisfaction a victory this weekend would provide, saying, "it would be the biggest thing in my career, I think. But yeah, for me personally, this is the biggest race we do [in North America]. It's the one we all want to win."

Oreca Nissan takes P2 pole down in 11th place. The rule makers so handicapped the old ALMS P2 class they don't have a chance
Courtesy of IMSA

Daytona Prototypes dominated the P class qualifying, taking nine of the first 10 positions. The fastest P2 car was 11th overall, the No. 6 Nissan ORECA driven by Klaus Graf, at 1:39.829 (128.380).

Marc Goossens claimed pole in the GT Le Mans class for Chrysler's SRT Viper squad with a time of 1m44.505s.

That put the Belgian less than a tenth of a second up on the factory CORE Autosport Porsche 911 RSR, which finished on a 1m44.582s.

The second Riley Technologies-run Viper GTS-R ended up third in the hands of Jonathan Bomarito, who was a further six hundredths in arrears.

A tenth back was the best of the new Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs, which was fourth quickest with Oliver Gavin at the wheel.

Other class poles:

  • In the Prototype Challenge (PC) class, former NASCAR driver Colin Braun put the No. 54 ORECA FLM09 on point, with a lap of 1:41.777 (125.922), good for 14th overall.
  • In GT Le Mans (GTLM), Marc Goossens turned a pole-winning lap of 1:44.506 (122.634) in the No. 91 SRT Viper GTS- R. The car will start 25th overall.
  • In GT Daytona (GTD), the No. 48 Audi R8 claimed the top spot in the class — and 34th overall — via Christopher Haase's lap of 1:46.973 (119.806) "It’s a great feeling to be on the pole position at Daytona," said Haase. Of course that’s not what’s going to decide the race, but for the first hour it’ll definitely be helpful. The team did a superb job: Our car was good from the beginning and we further improved it in the right direction. We can be very pleased and I’m already looking forward to the race start."


Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time
1. P Gurney/Fogarty/Gidley/Law GAINSCO Corvette 1m38.270s
2. P Westbrook/Valiante/Rockenfeller Spirit Corvette 1m38.487s
3. P Mayer/Popow/Hartley Speedworks Riley-BMW 1m38.525s
4. P Barbosa/Fittipaldi/Bourdais/Friselle Action Express Corvette 1m38.658s
5. P Frisselle/Friselle/Martin/Giroix Action Express Corvette 1m38.838s
6. P Dixon/Kanaan/Franchitti/Larson Ganassi Riley-BMW 1m38.948s
7. P Taylor/Angelelli/Taylor/Taylor Taylor Corvette 1m39.023s
8. P Meyrick/Legge/Rossi/Chaves DeltaWing 1m39.270s
9. P Pruett/Rojas/McMurray/Karam Ganassi Riley-Ford 1m39.424s
10. P Pew/Negri/Allmendinger/Wilson Shank Riley-Ford 1m39.761s
11. P2 Graf/Luhr/Brundle Pickett ORECA-Nissan 1m39.829s
12. P Curran/Said/Smith/Papis Marsh Corvette 1m40.570s
13. P2 DeFoor/Pace/Beck/Hinton Highway Riley-BMW 1m41.587s
14. PC Bennett/Gue/Braun/Wilkins CORE FLM 1m41.777s
15. PC Schultis/Lux/van der Zande/Bird Starworks FLM 1m41.815s
16. P Brown/van Overbeek/Pagenaud/Lazzaro Extreme Speed HPD 1m41.885s
17. PC Ende/Junqueira/Heinemeier Hansson RSR FLM 1m41.932s
18. PC Ostella/Matos/Drissi/Casagrande/Campos Performance FLM 1m42.053s
19. P Sharp/Dalziel/Brabham Extreme Speed HPD 1m42.157s
20. PC Cumming/Tagliani/Mitchell/Daly RSR FLM 1m42.187s
21. PC Rayhall/Kovacic/Bielefield/Kearby/Kasemets BAR1 FLM 1m42.416s
22. PC Montecalvo/Jeannette/Cheng/Guasch PR1 FLM 1m43.156s
23. P Pla/Rusinov/Yacaman/Webb OAK Morgan-Nissan 1m43.420s
24. PC Popow/Fuentes/Tutumlu/Marcelli/Kaffer Starworks FLM 1m44.126s
25. GT Farnbacher/Goossens/Hunter-Reay SRT Viper 1m44.506s
26. GT Tandy/Lietz/Pilet CORE Porsche 1m44.582s
27. GT Bell/Bomarito/Wittmer SRT Viper 1m44.617s
28. GT Gavin/Milner/Liddell Corvette 1m44.729s
29. GT Long/Christensen/Bergmeister CORE Porsche 1m44.746s
30. GT Mucke/Turner/Lamy/Stanaway/Dalla Lana Aston Martin 1m45.439s
31. GT Muller/Edwards/Rahal/Werner RLL BMW 1m45.667s
32. GT Auberlen/Priaulx/Hand/Martin RLL BMW 1m45.672s
33. GT Krohn/Jonsson/Bertolini/Dumbreck Krohn Ferrari 1m46.863s
34. GTD Miller/Rast/Haase/Bell Miller Audi 1m46.973s
35. GTD Balzan/Westphal/Vilander/Case Corsa Ferrari 1m47.028s
36. GTD Putman/Espenlaub/Jarvis/Walker Fall-Line Audi 1m47.050s
37. GTD Longo/Serra/Negrao/Gomes Corsa Ferrari 1m47.052s
38. GTD Block/Carter/Davis/Davison TRG Aston Martin 1m47.055s
39. GTD Tucker/Sweedler/Bell/Segal/Pier Guidi Ferrari 1m47.062s
40. GTD Keating/Bleekemolen/Bleekemolen Riley SRT Viper 1m47.255s
41. GTD Tucker/LaMarra/Borcheller/Cosmo Level 5 Ferrari 1m47.348s
42. GTD Norman/Stanton/Siedler/Bernhard Park Place Porsche 1m47.354s
43. GTD Rotenberg/Zlobin/Mediani/Salo/Aleshin SMP/ESM Ferrari 1m47.361s
44. GTD Lockie/McIntosh/Nimkroff/Riddle TRG Aston Martin 1m47.404s
45. GTD Cameron/Dalla Lana/Farfus/Palttala Turner BMW 1m47.418s
46. GTD Foster/Dempsey/Davis/Lieb Dempsey Porsche 1m47.490s
47. GTD Amos/Bamber/Blum/Imperatori/Zitza Muehlner Porsche 1m47.561s
48. GTD Potter/Lally/Henzler/Dumolin Magnus Porsche 1m47.572s
49. GTD MacNeil/Keen/van Gisbergen/Lewis Alex Job Porsche 1m47.647s
50. GTD Snow/Heylen/Seefried Snow Porsche 1m47.649s
51. GTD Cisneros/Giermaziak/Nielsen/Thiim NGT Porsche 1m47.742s
52. GTD Lindsey/Estre/De Phillippi/Hart/Vess Park Place Porsche 1m47.749s
53. GTD James/Farnbacher/Holzer/Riberas Alex Job Porsche 1m47.952s
54. GTD Canache/Pumpelly/Pappas/Winkelhock Flying Lizard Audi 1m48.045s
55. GTD Faulkner/Huisman/Faieta GB Porsche 1m48.049s
56. GTD Neiman/von Moltke/Latif/Albuquerque Flying Lizard Audi 1m48.140s
57. GTD Welch/Sofronas/Stippler/Basseng GMG Audi 1m48.381s
58. GTD Griffin/Cioci/Rugolo/Gerber Spirit of Race Ferrari 1m48.438s
59. GTD Engelhart/Ineichen/Bachler/Willsey Dempsey Porsche 1m48.741s
60. GTD Randall/Farano/Wilden/Empringham Corsa Ferrari 1m48.758s
61. GTD Doyle/Gewirtz/Kvamme/Michaelian Muehlner Porsche 1m48.821s
62. P Tremblay/Long/Hinchcliffe Speedsource Mazda 1m49.734s
63. P Miller/Nunez/Vautier Speedsource Mazda 1m50.251s

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