GRAND AM NEWS: Ham Puts Mazda RX-8 On GT Class Pole

Photo by John Rawley Nick Ham only turned one lap on a dampened Daytona International Speedway in the No. 70 SpeedSource/Mazdaspeed Mazda RX-8, but that was all he needed to take the Rolex Series GT class pole.

Ham turned the fastest lap of the day for the GT class with a time of 1:52.681 (113.737 mph) on his first full qualifying lap, nearly a full second quicker than second place. After completing the flyer, Ham pulled the car into the pits as a precaution. Ham will begin tonight’s race before turning the car over to teammate Sylvain Tremblay.

"I'm very happy for my team, they really needed this. On my warm up lap, I got a warning light that indicated zero oil pressure. I radioed the crew and they said to keep going so I just didn't leave any on the table on that second lap. After that we parked it so as not to risk the car, but we think it was just a bad sensor. The Mazda RX-8 just loves this track, so look out for us in the race."

Ham will share the front row with the No. 07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R, qualified by championship co-leader Kelly Collins and teammate Paul Edwards. The No. 70 Mazda RX-8 and No. 07 Pontiac GXP.R turned times that rivaled each other all morning in practice sessions, one claiming the top spot for a few minutes before the other would best the time. By the end of the qualifying session Collins was unable to top Ham’s blazing first lap, ending up with a session best lap time of 1:53.503 (112.913 mph).

Ian Baas piloted the No. 85 Shoes for Crews/ Recaro Farnbacher Loles Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup to a 1:54.163 (112.261 mph), sharing the second row with the No. 69 SpeedSource/Mazdaspeed Mazda RX-8 qualified by Nick Longhi (1:54.420, 112.008 mph). Baas will co-drive with Leh Keen and Dominick Farnbacher. Longhi will team with Emil Assentato.

Championship co-leader Dirk Werner qualified in fifth position with a 1:54.446 (111.983 mph). Werner, tied atop the GT Championship standings with Collins and Edwards, will co-drive with Bryce Miller.

The Grand American Road Racing Association, which operates and sanctions the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve and the KONI Challenge Series, is the premier road racing organization in North America. The 15-race 2007 Rolex Series schedule and the 12-race KONI Challenge Series calendar delivered professional sports car racing to key markets throughout North America in addition to being televised in the United States and Canada on SPEED and distributed globally through ESPN International. With title sponsorship support from Rolex Watch USA and presenting sponsorship from Crown Royal Special Reserve, the Rolex Series showcases emerging and legendary drivers from around the globe and thoroughbred racing machines from the industry's leading constructors and the world's top automobile manufacturers. Learn more about Grand-Am at

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