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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/

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 Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John



  1. Tyler Sanders

    January 25, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    That was a great qualifying session

  2. pdxracefan

    January 25, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    Yowza! Hell of a qualy. Too bad about the Mazdas and ESM though

    • Chips O'Toole

      January 25, 2018 at 5:32 pm

      Yep, great session. I was hoping that Mazda & ESM would show up better prepared this year. With Caddy, Acura and some strong Oreca LMP2 teams they can’t afford a slow start.

      • Justin Porter

        January 25, 2018 at 5:55 pm

        Bomarito and the running Mazda weren’t exactly slouches. At one point I saw him as high as 5th in the qualifying order.

        Joest might have figured something out with the Mazdas after all.

        • Chips O'Toole

          January 25, 2018 at 6:32 pm

          Fast but fragile.

  3. Overtake24

    January 25, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    Are the Ligiers running with the updated evo parts?

    • John Dagys

      January 25, 2018 at 5:34 pm

      Yes. But it’s just a new splitter.

    • tracer

      January 25, 2018 at 5:35 pm

      From what I’ve seen in photos, it appears they are.

      • Overtake24

        January 25, 2018 at 5:44 pm


  4. TailsLeMans722

    January 25, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    With over half of the prototype field separated by less than a second and the threat of rain n the horizon, this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona should be a classic!

    • tracer

      January 25, 2018 at 6:51 pm

      Definitely! Thankfully it looks like the rain will stay away until at least midday Sunday… if it holds off until then I won’t mind getting wet because it should make for a crazy sprint to the checker.

  5. daedalus

    January 25, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Very close session in all classes, Ferrari were in their element in GTD, look to be favorites unless they blow up again. Prototype is a toss up, the race will all come down to the last few hours I think, feel sorry for the Ligier, the updates have not done the job and BMW in GTLM need some help BOP wise me thinks.

    I think we can all see that IMSA was right to peg back the caddies, they still took pole but only by a fag packet thanks to Renger van der Zande who is shaping up to be one of the best prototype drivers in IMSA after is performance today and at Laguna Seca last year.

  6. Pierre

    January 25, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    One lap flyer qualifying belongs in Sprint racing

    • Chips O'Toole

      January 25, 2018 at 6:42 pm

      What kind of qualifying belongs in endurance racing?

      • Slicks in the wet

        January 25, 2018 at 8:36 pm

        Average time over five laps?

        You know.

        Something NO ONE does lol

    • Larry

      January 25, 2018 at 10:45 pm

      What are you talking about? This is the way sports car racing has qualified for at least the last 35 years or more.

      • Pierre

        January 26, 2018 at 12:35 am

        Have you seen the wec? Lap averages between multiple laps and drivers makes the most sense.

        • Matt

          January 26, 2018 at 1:16 am

          Lol the WEC format is garbage. Nobody cares about an average of lap times. Qualifying has always been about the fastest lap time the car is capable of.

  7. David Chaste

    January 25, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    WTR has the best season long lineup in my opinion.

  8. Jose

    January 25, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    “Data irregularity” ie engine approaching blowed up.

  9. GridS2Plaza

    January 25, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    Glad to see the Multimatic Riley has made strides since last year. Somebody’s got to bring up the rear.

  10. Mike S

    January 25, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    Does lack of Conti. tire data handicap the ELMS and WEC teams as top one is 10th? I would think so but it’s a long race and let’s see how the horsepower advantages gets divulged in potential wet conditions.

    • Larry

      January 25, 2018 at 10:43 pm

      Mike, the top WEC P2 is FOURTH, another in sixth, and another in eighth. Read the article and look at the results.

      • thomas

        January 26, 2018 at 3:49 am

        actually the only one in the top 10 is Lance Stroll’s car. The other P2 cars are IMSA teams

  11. Matt

    January 25, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    Said it before and I’ll say it again, until Mazda dump AER and get a real engine theyll by behind due to failures.

    • Matt

      January 26, 2018 at 1:19 am

      I feel like Joest might do that for next year, but they didn’t have enough time to coordinate that type of change for this year.

      • The Fisherman

        January 26, 2018 at 4:00 am

        There’s much less wrong with the engine than there is with the chassis. Has nobody caught on to the fact that the installation is the biggest source of their reliability issues?

        • j_c

          January 26, 2018 at 8:58 am

          Sure, the chassis was bad too, but even though AER’s been tweaking it over the years this engine has a spotty endurance record going all the way back to ALMS with Dyson Racing.

    • Chips O'Toole

      January 26, 2018 at 7:26 am

      Yep, this appears to be the second engine change this week. No way they make it through the 24.

  12. David Chaste

    January 26, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Castroneves made Cameron look bad in qualifying. But Castroneves’ other team mates have said he takes a lot of chances which is why he wrecks a lot in testing.

    During Vender Zende’s pole interview you can Ryan Hunter-Reay photo bombing in the background seemingly to say Indycar champ over here, i could have done that.

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