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Rojas takes Mexico City pole.


Memo Rojas will start on the pole for the Mexico City 250 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez after posting a record-breaking lap time in front of his countrymen in qualifying for the latest round of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.

Rojas, who currently leads the standings by 13 points along with co-driver Scott Pruett, posted a time of 1min 19.508secs in the #01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley to knock nearly a second-and-a-half off last year's mark. The pole was Rojas' first in 16 career Grand-Am starts, and the team's first since last September at Miller Motorsports Park. Having collected the XPEL Pole Award, Rojas and Pruett will now look to secure their third straight win of 2008.

“I'm really happy to have won my first Rolex Series pole here in Mexico, but it was a great effort by the team," Rojas said, "We struggled with chassis set-up, but thankfully we made the right decisions towards the end of the last practice session and in qualifying. We'll see tomorrow. The race has yet to start and we've got a lot of work to do.”

Outside front row starter Mark Wilkins also earned his first such start, taking second spot with a time of 1min 19.537secs - only 0.029 seconds behind Rojas - in the #61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley.

“We worked very hard this weekend," Wilkins admitted, "We elected to go with a little bit more downforce to help us in some of the tighter sections of the track and that paid off well for us in qualifying. I think we're going to have to go back and think about it a little bit more for the race, but the guys gave me a great car and the Ford is a great engine. I'm very excited about the race tomorrow.”

Rojas became the third driver in as many Daytona Prototype races this season to score a pole and one of the others, David Donohue, who recorded the pole in last month's GAINSCO Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead, qualified third in Mexico in the #58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley.

That put him ahead of defending race champion Jon Fogarty's #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley and Burt Frisselle in the #47 Doran Racing Ford Dallara. In all, ten drivers posted times faster than last year's qualifying record set by NASCAR convert Colin Braun.

In the earlier Rolex GT qualifying session, German Pierre Kaffer took the #87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 to his first career pole with a time of 1min 26.621secs. Former Audi prototype driver Kaffer, who is teaming with defending Rolex Series driving champion Dirk Werner this weekend to make his second start with Farnbacher Loles, is the third driver in as many races in 2008 to score a GT pole.

“Mexico is not that easy a circuit, and this is the first time I've driven it, but I've improved during every session," the German commented, "I did a long run this morning, and felt good prior to the qualifying session. In qualifying, we had everything together, and it worked. We didn't expect to be on the pole, but the team did a very good job between yesterday and today. We improved things in the set-ups, some small things, but the important thing was to not get in traffic and use the peak of the tyres. We did a good job with that.”



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Pruett/Franchitti/Montoya/Rojas - Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Lexus   [pic credit: grand-am.com]
Starworks Motorsport BMW/Riley duo Brendon Hartley and Scott Mayer celebrate their first Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series victory at Road America [Pic credit: Grand AM]
Juan Pablo Montoya, Memo Rojas, Scott Pruett and Charlie Kimball, co-drivers of the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates TELMEX/Target Ford BMW Riley celebrate their win in victory lane at the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on January 27, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Alex Popow and Sebastian Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Ford Riley, celebrate in Victory Lane after wininng the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Alex Popow and Sebastien Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Soloson Ford Riley, celebrate after winning the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The winning #60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley car is brought into victory lane after a gruelling 50th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona. [Picture Credit: Daytona International Speedway]
Borcheller/Barbosa - Action Express Racing Porsche Riley [Pic credit: Grand Am Media]
Alex Gurney/Jon Fogarty - GAINSCO Bob Stallings Racing Riley-Pontiac   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Romain Dumas/Timo Bernhard - Verizon Wireless Team Penske Riley-Porsche   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas - TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Lexus   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas - TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Lexus   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Michael Valiante/Joh Pew - Michael Shank Racing Riley-Ford   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Oswaldo Negri/Mark Patterson - Michael Shank Racing Riley-Ford   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas - TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Lexus   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
The winning Brumos Racing team at Daytona [Pic credit: Brian Cleary]
The GAINSCO Racing entry at Daytona [Pic credit: Brian Cleary]
The #01 Chip Ganassi entry at Daytona [Pic credit: Brian Cleary]
The Beyer Racing Pontiac at Daytona [Pic credit: Brian Cleary]

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