JANUARY 23, 2014
Less than 48 hours remain until the first major automobile race of the year – the iconic Rolex 24 At Daytona – sees the waving of the green flag that signals the start of the 52nd edition of the historic twice-around-the-clock challenge. At Daytona International Speedway, home to the race since its inception in 1962, steel girders crown the stadium which undergoing a major expansion. As with the venue itself, race preparations have been gathering momentum, reaching another milestone with the Qualifying Rounds for the four competing classes.
Earning pole position in the Prototype (P) class, Alex Gurney turned in a fastest lap of 1:38.270 in the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Corvette DP.
“I am really so happy to have won pole position,” said Gurney. “I want to thank Bob Stallings and everybody on the team. Most of the team worked through Christmas and New Year’s and with all the rule changes and other challenges this means a lot to all of us.”
In the Prototype Challenge (PC) class, Colin Braun drove the #54 Core Autosport ORECA FLM09 to a class fastest time of 1:41.777.
“Obviously it is very good to be on pole here at Daytona,” said Braun, crediting the prep work done during the off season. “With an hour and a half for practice, four or five drivers to run through, and with caution periods, it’s all about getting here ready to race. It’s very tough competition. Wth our class being spec, it comes down to all the fine details.”
In the GT Daytona (GTD) class, Christopher Haase had the fastest time of 1:46.973 with the #48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8, while in the GT Le Mans (GT) class it was Marc Goosens with the fastest lap of 1:44.506 in the #91 SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R.
“It’s not the most important thing to be on pole for a 24 hour race,” said Goosens. “But our team has put good people together and after a year and half of hard work we are able to get up to this level. We have the momentum going so its motivation for the whole team.”
The 52nd edition of the iconic Rolex 24 At Daytona starts at 1410 EST on Saturday, 25 January 2014. The winners will be presented with the coveted Rolex timepiece at the conclusion of racing on Sunday, 26 January 2014.
A partner of track racing in Daytona Beach from its beginnings in the late 1950s, Rolex has been Title Sponsor of this motor-sport legend since 1992. The Rolex 24 At Daytona celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012 – just one year ahead of the Cosmograph Daytona, the Rolex chronograph dedicated to racing drivers. On its launch in 1963, the watch brand baptized its new model “Cosmograph Daytona” to mark the connection with the Daytona International Speedway, the fastest American track of its era.