January 24, 2014- Montreal’s Alex Tagliani proved once again he is Canada’s most versatile race car driver, putting one of Paul Gentilozzi’s two RSR entries solidly in the field for tomorrow’s 52nd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.
Always a quick study with the ability to adapt to new cars and assignments with minimal preparation, Tagliani yesterday took the RSR # 08 Automax.com Chevrolet powered Oreca FLM 09, a brand new car, with no testing and very few warm up laps, to the Daytona circuit for qualifying for the around-the-clock classic.
“Tag” qualified fifth in the Prototype Challenge class, 20th overall. The Canadian set a fast lap time of 1:42:187, only 4/10th’s of a second off the PC pole position. Tagliani, the 2011 Indianapolis 500 pole winner, thinks the RSR team will be even quicker and more competitive as additional laps are booked in on the 3.5 mile Daytona course.
Sharing the driving duties in the # 08 RSR Oreca with Alex for the Rolex 24 are 2013 Drivers Championship runner up Chris Cumming, along with Rusty Mitchell and Conor Daly.
The RSR team’s sister car, the # 09 Lino’spresso Oreca FLM09, anchored by fellow former ChampCar driver Bruno Junqueira also had an excellent qualifying session. Bruno set a fast lap time of 1:41.932, falling short of the PC class pole by less than 16/100th’s of a second to rank third in class, 17th overall in the 67 car field.
“I am very happy with the qualifying yesterday! We had no testing and only a handful of laps before I strapped in to put the car in the field. It’s a brand new car, first time on the track, but we just got down to business and got up to speed quickly. I got comfortable in the seat more and more as the laps clicked off! Bruno and his guys just missed the PC pole, and both RSR cars start the race in the top 5 and that’s tremendous! Special thanks to Jeff Lohman and the crew,” Tagliani commented.
The Oreca-Chevrolet endurance sports car is another addition to an already impressive list of racing machinery on Tagliani’s resume of success that includes IndyCars, NASCAR Nationwide and Canadian Tire Series stock cars and V8 Supercars.
The 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona, the inaugural race for the new TUDOR United Sports Car Championship goes green Saturday January 25th at 2:15 PM Eastern. It’s televised on FOX Sports 1 and 2, and carried on MRN Radio.
From: Erik Tomas/ Media/Public Relations, Tagliani Autosport
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