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.