P1 in a 24 hour race doesn’t meant too much with regard to race results. There’s just way too much that can happen over the course of the race. However, it does provide additional confidence in car, driver and team when you break the qualifying record lap.
With a time of 1:40.099 (128.033 mph) Porsche factory driver Joerg Bergmeister surprised himself when he went out for a last lap and broke the record set two years prior by David Donohue.
“I was ready to come in, and the team told me to try again,” Bergmeister said. “I went for it. I risked everything, and it worked out perfectly. I knew we have a great car and a great engine, but I was really surprised to win the pole – with the team running the DP for the first time. I was hoping to qualify in the top five.”
For those that don’t/can’t recite racing stats, you should know that Bergmeister’s No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche/Riley is the same car that David Donohue drove to set the previous record of 1:40.540 (127.492 mph). You should remember that Donohue went on to win the 2009 Rolex 24 for Brumos Racing, becoming the seventh and most recent driver to go from pole to 1st place on the podium.
GT Pole Position Changes Hand
As the original pole winner Andy Lally ran a lap of 1:48.487 (118.134 mph) in his #67 TRG Porsche 911. Unfortunately, post-race tech inspection showed his rear wing to be mounted too far to the rear, causing a disqualification. As a result, his car will start from the back of the field on Saturday.
Fortunately, teammate Dominik Farnbacher was just a little over two tenths of a second behind at 1:48.781 (117.815 mph) and he and his #66 TRG Porsche were awarded P1. Farnbacher, a winner in the GT class at the Rolex 24 in 2005, was pleased with the pole, and said his Porsche performed well on the new, smoother Daytona surface.
“In the infield, especially at the horseshoe and bus stop turns, your setup has to be right or you will lose lots of time, and I found I could go fast without over-driving the car. TRG has really become the Porsche 911 expert at this race, and I am thankful for the chance to drive this car,” said Farnbacher.
Other Porsche 911 GT3 Cup qualifiers in GT included Craig Stanton/Magnus Racing (third); Nick Tandy/Burtin Racing (fourth); Shane Lewis/Chris Smith Racing (fifth); Ryan Eversley/TRG (sixth); Andrew Davis/Brumos Racing (ninth); and Jeroen Bleekemolen/TRG Black Swan Racing (tenth).
[Source: Grand-Am and PMNA]