Action Express Cadillacs Earn Front-Row Starts For Rolex 24

Pole winning No. 5 action Express Racing car shown on high banks. [Joe Jennings Photo]

Pole winning No. 5 action Express Racing car shown on high banks. [Joe Jennings Photo]

By Joe Jennings

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. – A pair of Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi Prototypes earned front-row starting spots for the 55th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Joao Barbosa claimed the pole with a time of 1:36.903 or 132.2 miles per hour around the 3.56-mile road course at the Daytona International Speedway.

His co-drivers for the classic will be Christian Fittipaldi and Felipe Albuquerque.

“It went well for us, but a bit unexpected,” Barbosa said. “It took a while for the tire temperatures to come up but once they did, I pushed really hard to do everything we wanted to do. It is a long race but qualifying for the pole is a cool thing. How you finish is more important than how you start though.”

Dane Cameron put the second car alongside in row one with a time of 1:36.973.
Co-driving with Cameron will be Mike Conway, Eric Curran and Steve Morris.

Rebellion Racing and Neel Jani qualified third in their ORECA Gibson with Wayne Taylor Racing and Ricky Taylor in the fourth spot.

Sebastien Brumi and Nick Heidfeld co-drive with Jani. Taylor‘s teammates are brother Jordan Taylor, Max Angelelli and NASCAR star Jeff Gordon.

In the 27-car GTD field, Alessandro Pier Guidini put a Ferrari 488 GT3 on the pole with a time of 1:47.099, giving him his first IMSA pole. Joining Guidini in the front row is another Ferrari 488 driven by Alessandro Balzan.

American drivers Andy Lally, Scott Pruett and Boris Said qualified seventh, 13th and 20th, respectively, in their Acura, Lexus and Mercedes machines.

Ford GTs from Ford Chip Ganassi Racing swept the top three qualifying positions in the GTLM class. Joey Hand copped the pole with a time of 1:43.473 and he was followed closely by Richard Westbrook and Olivier Pla.

Hand claimed his ninth career pole. “I have a great team and they really know how to do this race. Since last year, we have done a lot of development of these cars,” he said. “We got here this morning and saw the weather had changed, so we put our heads together to decide what to do. I decided to wing it and went for it. It worked out.”
The fourth Ford GT timed sixth.

The popular factory Corvettes timed seventh and ninth out of 11 entrants.

James French claimed the PC pole in a spirited dual with Johnny Mowlen. French’s winning time was 1:43.197.

Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice qualified third.

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