Max Angelelli prevailed in a back-and-forth battle to capture pole position for the 48th Rolex 24 at Daytona, securing top spot for the opening round of the 2010 Grand-Am Rolex Series with a lap of 1min 40.827secs in the #10 SunTrust Ford Dallara as Thursday's timed session set the top 13 positions in the Daytona Prototype class and the top 20 in GT.
It was Angelelli's fourth career pole in the Rolex Series, as the #10 SunTrust entry he shares with Wayne Taylor, Ricky Taylor and Pedro Lamy again proved to be the class of the field. The Italian was fastest in a three-day practice session earlier in January, after which he said all the team needed to do was 'wash the car' to be ready for the Rolex 24.
"Winning the pole was really important for the team, after the disappointment of losing last year's championship in the final race," Angelelli said, "It was good for team morale. We really wanted it.
"The car is great. It's really easy to drive and it's fast. We have everything in place, and we're really looking forward to the race to get a good result. Now it's up to us as drivers to make it happen."
The next four cars were separated by 0.064secs. Oz Negri will start from the outside of row one after running 1min 41.100secs in the #60 Crown Royal XR Ford Riley, edging out Michael Shank Racing team-mate Michael Valiante's 1min 41.110secs effort in the #6 Ford Riley.
"My car was still getting better late in the session," said Negri, who won the pole for the 2008 Rolex 24 in the same car, "My tyres were finally where I wanted them to be on the final lap. Who knows what would have happened if I had another lap, but I am very happy being on the front row."
Valiante led both of Saturday's practice sessions but slipped to third after running up front early in the 15-minute qualifying round.
"We've been quick all weekend and at the test, but we missed it by just a little bit in qualifying," the Canadian said, "I think we've got a real good car for the race, and that's what's important here."
The TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates cars qualified fourth and fifth, with Scott Dixon running a lap of 1min 41.147secs in the #02 BMW Riley to edge out the #01 machine of team-mate Scott Pruett.