Romain Dumas secured his first career Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series pole position after leading the way in qualifying at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Dumas, driving the #12 Verizon Wireless Porsche Riley, made his first qualifying attempt of the 2009 season count, as he drove the Penske-run Daytona Prototype to a time of 1min 14.057secs. He and co-driver Timo Bernhard will be making their first starts at New Jersey.
"For sure this is a great pleasure to get the first pole for Penske in Grand-Am. I knew I had to push and the crew was encouraging me on the radio,” Dumas said. “I was fast first, then he (Scott Pruett) went faster, so I pushed and got back ahead.
"Our sponsor, Verizon Wireless, is the sponsor of the race, so we would like to win for them and Mr. (Roger) Penske, who has put us together. We have had good success together, and we would like to win our first Grand-Am race here.
"This is my first time here, but Timo (Bernhard) is the detail man. He studies the tracks and I learn them when I arrive. He showed me two things before we got here - the track map and video of his (pointing to second-place qualifier Scott Pruett) crash here last year. Timo told me not to do that.”
The native Frenchman outlasted two-time Daytona Prototype champion Scott Pruett, who said weather reports altered the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team's strategy and put him in the seat of the #01 TELMEX Lexus Riley for qualifying. Pruett's time of 1min 14.265secs put him on the outside of the front row, giving the team its second straight front row start. Memo Rojas will take the wheel after Pruett made his first qualifying attempt in a sprint race since last season at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec.
Third was Jon Fogarty, driving the #99 GAINSCO Pontiac Riley, with a time of 1min 14.919secs. Following were Nic Jönsson, in the #76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola, with a time of 1min 14.968secs, and Brian Frisselle, in the #10 SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara, with a time of 1min 15.201secs.
Point leaders and Rolex 24 At Daytona co-winners Darren Law and David Donohue will start eleventh in the #58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley, while defending race co-winners Mark Patterson and Ozz Negri - driving the #60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley - will start alongside in twelfth.
In GT, defending GT co-champion Kelly Collins earned his ninth career class pole and first of 2009, as he drove the #07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R to a time of 1min 21.369secs. Collins will split time in the #07 with Paul Edwards on Sunday.