Memo Rojas prevailed in a back-and-forth battle with Timo Bernhard to capture the Daytona Prototype pole position for the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway, while Nick Ham turned in the fastest lap in GT qualifying, as both polewinners shattered the existing track records.
Rojas will start the #01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Riley out front when the green flag waves for round two of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series after producing a lap of 1min 41.646secs to trump Bernhard. It is a second career pole for Rojas, who will co-drive with regular team-mate Scott Pruett as Ganassi attempts to repeat its win in the 2007 Bosch Engineering 250.
Ironically, Rojas led qualifying for that event, but was forced to start the race from pit road after his qualifying lap was disallowed due to a technical infraction. As a result, he becomes the seventh different Daytona Prototype pole winners in as many seasons, and ninth driver to record a Rolex Series overall pole since 2002. No driver has ever earned more than one pole at VIR.
"The team did an awesome job - we had a great car since we rolled off the truck," the Mexican reported, "It took me a little bit longer to get my good lap in because of traffic, but it's going to be a good race tomorrow."
Bernhard ran a lap of 1min 42.233secs in the #12 Penske Racing/Verizon Wireless Riley-Porsche he shares with Romain Dumas, and was on provisional pole three times - only to have his time eclipsed by Rojas each time.
"We were not accustomed to the track, and had to learn it first, especially Romain," Bernhard admitted, "I ran the test here in October, but learning the race track took five to six laps this morning. Then, the rest of the time, we worked on getting the car focused for the race tomorrow. For the qualifying session, we were on the limit. It was a perfect lap that put me first, and then on the front row in the end. The rest of my laps I had spoiled by other cars in the fast corners or coming out of the pits."
Jon Fogarty claimed third spot with a lap of 1min 42.262secs in the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Riley-Pontiac to be co-driven by Alex Gurney. Joining him on the second row will be Burt Frisselle in the #61 AIM Autosport/CONSOL Energy Riley-Ford, co-driven by Mark Wilkins.
The top eight Daytona Prototype drivers were under the existing track record of 1min 53.401secs set by Michael Valiante in 2008. Darren Law (#58 Brumos Porsche Riley), Nic Jonsson (#76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola), John Pew (#6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley) and Brian Frisselle (#10 SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara) all also bettered the existing mark.
In GT, Nick Ham had planned a nice and easy qualifying session, but stayed out longer than planned, and found that it paid off, as he snared the class pole with a lap of 1min 51.742secs in the #70 SpeedSource/Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8. His seventh career pole is the second straight for his team this season, after co-driver Sylvain Tremblay led qualifying for the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.