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Van der Zande Steals Pole for Rolex 24

Renger van der Zande steals pole from Helio Castroneves for Rolex 24…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

A late flyer by Renger van der Zande has given Wayne Taylor Racing and Cadillac pole for the 56th Rolex 24 at Daytona.

In the closing moments of a heated 15-minute qualifying session, the Dutchman reeled off a 1:36.083 lap in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R to bump Helio Castroneves from the top spot by just 0.007 seconds.

Castroneves, who rocketed to the top of the time charts with a 1:36.090 in the No. 7 Team Penske Acura ARX-05, was unable to respond as he watched van der Zande’s pole-winning lap from the pit lane.

It marked back-to-back Rolex 24 poles for Cadillac and only the third career for van der Zande, who joins the defending IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship-winning squad this year.

Van der Zande will share driving duties with Jordan Taylor and Ryan Hunter-Reay in Saturday’s season-opener. 

Flipe Albuquerque qualified the No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac in third, followed by Pato O’Ward, who reeled off an impressive 1:36.318 lap to be quickest of the LMP2 cars in the debuting Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson, in fourth.

The No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac of Tristan Vautier completed the top-five, with Robin Frijns sixth in the No. 37 Jackie Chan DCR JOTA Oreca.

Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, qualified 13th, as the quickest of the Ligier JS P217 Gibsons and Onroak Automotive-built prototypes. 

The top 13 cars were separated by less than 1 second in qualifying.

It was a session to forget for Tequila Patron ESM, which saw one of its Nissan Onroak DPis in the barriers and another not take part.

A brake lock-up led to Nico Lapierre slamming the No. 22 Nissan DPi into the barriers at the second horseshoe, while a precautionary engine change for the No. 2 car saw it sit out the session.

The No. 77 Mazda RT24-P also did not set a time after Mazda Team Joest engineers found a data irregularity prior to qualifying.

The 56th Rolex 24 at Daytona gets underway Saturday at 2:40 p.m. ET with live coverage on FOX.

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

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