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Gurney Takes GAINSCO/BSR to Rolex 24 Pole

Alex Gurney claims overall pole for 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona…

Photo: Darren Pierson

Photo: Darren Pierson

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 off season. 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 had initially qualified in third position, thanks to Brendon Hartley’s 1:38.525 lap time. However, it was disallowed due to the car having a ride height infraction and unapproved aerodynamic device found in post-qualifying technical inspection.

It promoted the two Action Express Racing Corvette DPs of Christian Fittipaldi and Burt Frisselle, to third and fourth on the grid, respectively. 

The No. 0 DeltaWing DWC13 of Katherine Legge qualified seventh 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 10th 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 Enzo Potolicchio-led squad is expected to return to action for this evening’s mandatory night practice, which gets underway at 6:30 p.m. ET.

RESULTS: Qualifying

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Ian

    January 23, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    So the PC’s are faster than most of the P2 cars?

  2. Patrick

    January 23, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Does anybody know if the race will be on Speed2 or the whole race on imsa.com

    • jack

      January 23, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      i doubt it will be streamable when its on tv

    • daron

      January 23, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      Streaming? There’s no room for streaming in #TheFuture

      • rocktor

        January 23, 2014 at 7:28 pm

        How to watch the race:

        Starts at 2:00pm eastern on Fox

        4:00pm eastern on Fox Sports 2

        9:00pm eastern on Imsa.com (streaming)

        7:00am eastern on Fox Sports 1

        Google is your friend, fellas.

      • Jack

        January 23, 2014 at 8:02 pm

        i meant if you can watch it on tv, it will not be streamed, when tv is off air, you can stream

    • Hedgey

      January 24, 2014 at 3:40 am

      Speed2.com is basically dead – don’t expect to see anything at all up there. The schedules haven’t been updated since last year and they aren’t showing the Conti races live anymore either.

  3. Sam

    January 23, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Very quick times by the PC cars – it is surprising the P2 aren’t a little quicker by comparison. The DPs were quicker than the P2 cars as suspected. Will be interesting to see how they go at Sebring too.
    Any info on what happened to the Mazda P2s? 11 seconds off the pace!

    • Jack

      January 23, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      they have benn going that pace since they first got to daytona

  4. Larry Gilbert

    January 23, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    What a joke. At the end of last season, the P2s and PCs from ALMS were faster than the DPs.

    The rules have been manipulated to attain this result and they have slowed down the P2s so much that they are being outqualified by PCs.

    Though both series ran Road Atlanta last year, Rolex qualifying was washed out, so I had to go back to Mid-Ohio in 2012 to get a comparison where both series ran the same track.

    In 2012, the top DP qualifying time at Mid-Ohio was the 10 car at 1:16.947.

    The top P2 car in 2012 at Mid-Ohio was the Level 5 055 car at 1:13.230. That is over 6 seconds a lap at the same track.

    The fastest PC that ALMS weekend was 1:15.107.

    Hell, the Dempsey P2 car, with which they were having major teething problems turned a 1:16.224 in qualifying.

    Now, the top 7 cars are all DP. You gotta be kidding. Even the slow as hell Delta Wing out qualified the P2s.

    They added weight, which they said they wouldn’t do to the P2s and other changes and this is what we see.

    • Kohawk63

      January 23, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      The league restricted the DP’s before the race in an attempt to let P2 back into the front. Still not there. At Daytona DP cars will be faster. P2 will shine at Long Beach.

      • Larry Gilbert

        January 23, 2014 at 9:54 pm

        Really? I am here at the track working this race and have not heard any such thing.

        They have made P2s slower than PCs by doing things they said they wouldn’t do.

        • Vance

          January 24, 2014 at 8:53 am

          You’re not paying attention then. The p2 cars have been unleashed about as much as they can go. Dp cars have been given better down force which has added to their overall top speed. None of the p2 cars had a good qualy effort as several were hit with mechanical issues. The DW has been really reliable this month so far. Also, the P2 cars that were originally hit with weight additions had them taken off.
          High Speed tracks will favor DP. Sebring and most of the other tracks will favor p2

    • WaltM

      January 23, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      More to the BOP then pure speed/lap times. P2’s have 2 big advantages at most all tracks,fuel millage and the ability to double stint a set of tires. The chance that they would get the BOP even for all tracks has allways been slim to none. We won’t see how close they got it untill sebring.

    • njpizza@gmail.com

      January 24, 2014 at 12:37 am

      please explain how they made p2’s slower, they gave them more hp and le mans aero on a track that they need it, the dp’s have always been fast at daytona, they prob have too much power at the moment, but a dp was literally made for this track

  5. Roy

    January 24, 2014 at 1:56 am

    That result is bullshit. The slower PC’s outrunning P2’s? The restrictions must be really strict then on the P2’s. Prototurtles is what the ALMS fans call the DP’s, and now they are suddenly running way faster? Nascrap is already starting to fuck it all up!

  6. Hedgey

    January 24, 2014 at 3:42 am

    Willing to put $10 on Mazda abandoning the Skyactiv engine program pretty quickly – those things look like they’re walking in a straight line… slower than EVERY SINGLE GT CAR.

    • jack

      January 24, 2014 at 8:15 am

      they can go way faster, but it would destroy the engines, they are not here to show pace

  7. Redcap

    January 24, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Well, Well. The transition of North American sports car racing under the NASCAR umbrella has some controversy and they haven’t dropped a green flag yet! Who would have thunk it? Let’s all just sit back and try to find the good in it and enjoy. The powers that be will fumble around with this for a while. Hopefully the unknowns will become known and then they’ll know how to refine it. Or maybe not.

  8. unknown

    January 24, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    All the ALMS fan bois crying about their P2 cars being slow is cracking me up. Please, continue giving me laugh worthy material today.

  9. Steve

    January 25, 2014 at 12:59 am

    Private testing was done at Daytona and the P2 cars were quick. The France family made sure rules were enacted to give the DP cars a competitive edge. Fact.

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