Montoya Fastest In Rolex Series Tests At Daytona

Daytona Beach, FL ? Juan Pablo Montoya topped the speed charts in the first of three days of Rolex Series tests at the Daytona International Speedway. The 2007 co-winner had a lap speed of 126.6 miles per hour, which was faster than the pole speed a year ago. In total, 15 drivers exceeded the 2007 pole qualifying time of 1:43.475 seconds.

Montoya?s achievement had a bittersweet ending, as the Colombian spun off the track after turning his fast lap, damaging the front end of the Target Chip Genesis with Felix Abates Lexus Riley. The car was repaired and was back on the track for the final practice session.

?It has been fun but it is very different to drive the Daytona Prototype,? Montoya said. ?It doesn?t really matter how fast you are today. You do need a reliable car and I think we have a great group of drivers. I think that?s going to be a big, big key to try to win this race.?

Teammate Scott Pruett stated, ?I am not driving the car much, as Dario Franchitti, Memo Rojas and Juan (Montoya) need the seat time. When I did drive the car, I was very pleased with it.?

Regarding Montoya?s off-track excursion, Pruett said a cut tire was his nemesis. ?The Pirelli tires are a little less forgiving. Juan (Montoya) ran over something on the track, and there?s no way to prepare for that.?

Franchitti, too, was pleased with the car. ?I am very happy with the pace of the car but not so much with its balance. Scott (Pruett) likes one set-up and Juan and I like other ones.?

Ryan Briscoe turned the second fastest time of 1:41.277 seconds in the Penske-Taylor Racing Pontiac Riley. Third fastest was the Bob Stallings/Riley Mathews Pontiac team driven by defending DP champion Alex Gurney.

Salvador Duran pushed the second Target Chip Ganassi Lexus Riley to the fourth fastest time ahead of the Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley of Ian James.

The SAMAX-Pontiac Riley was sixth on the speed charts followed by the #58 Brumos Porsche Riley, a second SAMAX Pontiac Riley, the #91 Bob Stallings/Riley Mathews Pontiac and the AIM Motorsport Ford Riley.

GT class speed honors went to the #66 TRG-Porsche GT3 Cup fielded by Kevin Buckler with the Alegra Motorsports-Porsche GT3 Cup entry second ahead of the Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 Cup car.

Sixty-seven Daytona Prototypes and GT teams were at the track with 61 of them taking one or more practice laps.

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