DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 22, 2009) – Brumos Racing’s David Donohue set a new track record and edged Penske Racing’s Timo Bernhard by one thousandth of a second to take the pole for the 47th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Thursday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway.
“It’s great for the crew,” said Donohue, who is co-driving the No. 58 Brumos Porsche Riley with Darren Law, Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia. “It puts the wind in their sails to get through the night a little easier.”
Donohue qualified with a Grand-Am Rolex 24 record time of 1 minute, 40.540 seconds on the 3.56-mile course with a speed 127.472 mph.
“We were the fastest guy today but the truth is that I would rather be up here in the center at this time on Sunday,” Donohue said. “That’s really what it’s all about.”
Said Bernhard: “I knew I put down a pretty good lap, and when they give me the time I thought it would be good enough for the pole. They told me it was very close, but I was second, but by that the time my tires were done. It was a great result for Penske Racing.”
While winning the pole for an endurance race might not be as crucial as in other races, for David Donohue, taking the pole for the Rolex 24 at Daytona holds a different kind of significance.
In 1971, David’s father Mark Donohue took the pole for the Rolex 24 with Penske Racing. David and Mark Donohue are only the second father-son combination to win the pole in the history of the Rolex 24.
“The pole is only bragging rights for a couple days,” Donohue said. “The overall victory is what people remember.
“There’s a lot of historical potential in this race.”
In the GT class, Sylvain Tremblay posted the fastest qualifying lap in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 with speed of 117.100 mph (18th overall) followed by Andy Lally in the TRG Porsche GT3 at 116.998 mph (19th overall).
“Winning the pole was a real testament to tall the hard work turned in by SpeedSource over the winter,” Tremblay said. “We were short by about three- or four-tenths, and I had to do quite a bit of work to make it happen.”
On tap: Friday will be another busy day at DIS with final qualifying for the Rolex 24 at 11 a.m., a KONI Challenge Series autograph session at 11:15 a.m. in the Sprint FANZONE and the Fresh From Florida 200 KONI Challenge Series race at 1:45 p.m.