Brabham Grabs GT1 Pole for Saturday's Rolex 24 At Daytona

30 January 1998

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- David Brabham of Australia wrapped up the GT1 pole position Friday for Saturday's Rolex 24 At Daytona at Daytona International Speedway.

Brabham, driving the new "Batmobile-looking" Panoz GTR-1, shattered the old GT1 track record on Thursday by turning a lap of 122.760 mph (1:44.395 sec.). Brabham secured the provisional pole on Thursday and made it official Friday, as no other GT1 teams were able to challenge his time. Brabham eclipsed the mark set by Oliviera Baretta in a Dodge Viper GTSR during last year's Rolex 24 At Daytona qualifying.

Also making it official on Friday, Porsche 911 GT2 driver Nick Ham will be on the GT2 pole, setting a record lap of 114.580 mph, while Bill Auberlen held onto the GT3 pole in a BMW M3 with a lap of 110.530 mph, also a track record.

In Friday's other action, the team of Stu Hayner and John Heinricy held off a strong challenge from the team of David Murry and Burnie Cochran to capture the third Annual DAYTONA USA Two-hour USRRC race for the Motorola Cup.

"We got out to a big lead early, but we weren't pushing terribly hard," said Hayner. "I think a couple of cars got in the dirt and that slowed everybody down at the beginning. The car was excellent right from the word go. This is the inaugural race for the new Victory Lane at Daytona, and it's great to be the first here.

"This is the 12th year John (Heinricy) and I have driven together, and our driving styles complement each other. I think we raced cautiously today, taking a little bit more fuel than we needed so we would be ok at the end of the race. I think that enabled the No. 2 car to catch up, but John (Heinricy) is one of the best drivers I know. It's a real privilege to be his co-driver. A few weeks ago I wasn't sure how we were going to do, and here we are today in Victory Lane.

Other class winners included Mike Fitzgerald and Jeff McMillan in Sports; William Pate and Joe Nonnemaker in Touring; and Mark Craig and Didier Schraenen in Compact.

Yannick Dalmas, driving a Ferrari 333SP, will set sail from the overall pole position tomorrow for the 36th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona. On Thursday, Dalmas shattered the old track record of 127.578 mph (1:40.456 seconds) set by Fermin Velez last year. Dalmas toured the 3.56-mile road course in 1:39.195 seconds, for an average speed of 129.200 mph. Didier Theys, also driving a Ferrari 333SP, will start alongside Dalmas as the premier sports car race in the world receives the green flag tomorrow at 1 p.m.

Tickets still remain for one of the great motorsports events of the year. Various tickets will be available at the gate, for more ticket information, contact the Speedway Ticket Office at (904) 253-7223.

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