After laying down a fast lap in early qualifying Ozz Negri then set about continuing to improve upon that as repeated challengers fell short, allowing him to claim his second career TOTAL Pole Award for Saturday’s season-opening race on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship schedule.
Brazilian Negri, driving the Michael Shank Racing fielded #60 Honda HPD Ligier led the Prototype field with a lap of 1:39.194, taking pole from the #02 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford of Scott Dixon by 0.108 seconds. Negri will be joined by returning co-drivers John Pew and AJ Allmendinger, along with team newcomer Matt McMurry.
“The combination with the Ligier chassis and the Honda engine has been incredible,” Negri said. “I knew it was going to be close. We knew we had a shot at the pole after the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test two weeks ago, so we worked real hard. We improved in the areas where we needed to, and it showed. We got faster and faster through practice and then in qualifying. The pole position is for bragging rights for the Rolex 24, but the real deal is the top step on Sunday.”
Looking to make history as the first six-time overall winner of the Rolex 24, Scott Pruett qualified a positive third by turning a lap of 1:39.309 in Chip Ganassi Racing’s #01 Ford EcoBoost/Riley he shares with Joey Hand, Charlie Kimball and Sage Karam.
Defending Rolex 24 winner Joao Barbosa will start fourth in Action Express Racing‘s No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP, setting a 1:39.568 in the car co-driven by Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais. Fifth was the somewhat unorthodox #0 DeltaWing DWC13, qualified by Andy Meyrick with a lap of 1:39.625.