Jorg Bergmeister surprised even himself Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. Asked by his team to attempt one more lap in the 15-minute session, Bergmeister laid down a Daytona Prototype track qualifying record lap of 1:40.099 (128.033mph) to capture the pole for Saturday's 49th Rolex 24 At Daytona.
"I was ready to come in, and the team told me to try again," Bergmeister said. "I went for it. I risked everything, and it worked out perfectly. I knew we had a great car and a great engine, but I was really surprised to win the pole – with the team running the DP for the first time. I was hoping to qualify in the top five."
Ironically, Bergmeister's No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Riley-Porsche is the same car that David Donohue set the previous record of 1:40.540 (127.492mph). Donohue went on to win the 2009 Rolex 24 for Brumos Racing, becoming the seventh and most recent driver to win the race from the pole.
"This car has some great history," said Bergmeister, who will co-drive with Patrick Long, Seth Neiman and Johannes van Overbeek.
Bergmeister will be joined on the front row by Max Angelelli, who ran 1:40.133 (127.990mph) in the No. 10 SunTrust Riley-Chevrolet.
"I'm happy with the front row, but this is a car that should be on the pole," Angelelli said. "I made a few mistakes and couldn't put together a clear lap."
Also under the previous track record were Scott Pruett (128.033mph), Ryan Dalziel (127.840mph), Scott Dixon (127.744mph), Antonio Garcia (127.654mph), Brian Frisselle (127.563mph) and AJ Allmendinger (127.562mph), all eclipsing Donohue's record.
In GT qualifying, Dominik Farnbacher was awarded the pole with a lap of 1:48.781 (117.815mph) in the No. 66 TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup after teammate Andy Lally's time was disallowed due to a technical violation. Lally ran a lap of 1:48.487 (118.134mph) in the No. 66 TRG Porsche, but his rear wing was found to be mounted too far to the rear.
Jordan Taylor will start second in the Autohaus Motorsports Camaro (117.771mph). Craig Stanton (117.566mph) and Nick Tandy (117.434mph) were also under also under Jeff Segal's year-old GT record of 117.275mph.
The race takes the green flag at 3:30 p.m. (ET). SPEED will provide seven hours of live coverage on Saturday beginning at 3 p.m., and resuming with seven hours on Sunday beginning at 9 a.m.
Pos. Drivers Car Time
1. Long/Bergmeister/Neiman/van Overbeek Riley-Porsche 1m40.099s
2. Taylor/Angelelli/Taylor/Briscoe Dallara-Chevy 1m40.133s
3. Pruett/Rojas/Rahal/Hand Riley-BMW 1m40.245s
4. Forest/Dalziel/Lowe/Braun/Enge Riley-Ford 1m40.250s
5. Dixon/Montoya/Franchitti/McMurray Riley-BMW 1m40.302s
6. Garcia/Edwards/Maassen Coyote-Chevy 1m40.396s
7. Frisselle/Richard/Bell/Kaiser Dallara-Ford 1m40.468s
8. Allmendinger/Wilson/McDowell Dallara-Ford 1m40.469s
9. Brown/Patterson/Blundell/Brundle Riley-Ford 1m40.784s
10. Fogarty/Gurney/Johnson Riley-Chevy 1m40.828s