Grand-Am: Bergmeister, Farnbacher on Pole for Rolex 24 at Daytona

What Happens When It’s a Tech Issue

10:06pm EST — The biggest news of the first day of the 2011 Grand-Am season was simple: re-paving Daytona has made it fast. The top eight DP qualifiers, with Jorg Bergmeister putting his Flying Lizard Porsche on pole, all broke the previous qualifying record. It was the sort of news that happened across the board in all classes of Grand-Am racing. Andy Lally was on pole for the GT class, saying “so many years I’ve been trying to do this,” while he wore his 2001 winning Rolex for his run to pole. It was not to be, despite his jubilation. His time was disqualified after the tech inspection discovered that “his rear wing was found to be mounted too far to the rear,” according to Grand-Am. Lally noted on Twitter that the issue was “a short bumper.” Fellow TRG driver Dominik Farnbacher will instead start on pole.

Begmeister beat out Max Angelelli, depriving the Italian of his third straight pole at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Instead Angelelli will start beside Bergmeister. Scott Pruett qualified third in the 01 Ganassi, with reigning winner Ryan Daizel qualifying the 8 Startworks fourth, and Scott Dixon rounded out the top five starters in the 02 Ganassi machine. After Lally’s removal from pole and Farnbacher having taken that position, Jordan Taylor will start the Autohaus Motorsports car second, with Craig Stanton (Magnus Racing), Nick Tandy (Burtin Racing), and Shane Lewis (Chris Smith Racing) rounding out the top five starters in the GT class.

The first day of the weekend’s racing was sunny, clear, and not overly warm. Shockingly, and thankfully, there seemed to be no incidents that required massive repairs by the team. Of course, the repaving might have helped, as had what appears to be a remarkably experienced field. The Sahlen team cars seemed to have an issue with the rear stepping out slightly when exiting the International Horseshoe, but it seemed to clear up in the coolness of the night practice. Neither Ganassi car ran during the two hour night practice, with the team choosing to spend the two hours setting up for the race. The single Gainsco car ran for a while, but finished the session replacing the engine. Meanwhile, the pole sitting Flying Lizard Porsche uncrated a new engine to swap out with the used one.

With no second qualifying session on Friday, the starting grid is set. The weekend’s weather is set to remain sunny and clear, becoming increasingly warmer (though still not more than the low seventies, Fahrenheit). Expect continued coverage here and updated throughout the weekend on Twitter. Pictures from the garages, pits, and on-track Thursday can be found though this link.


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