The 52nd Annual Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona weekend kicked off today at Daytona International Speedway with two morning practice sessions followed by afternoon qualifying and one night practice session. The MOMO NGT Motorsport team finished the fifteen-minute qualifying session in 15h position, amid a tightly packed and extremely competitive GT Daytona (GTD) class of 28 qualifiers.
Polish native Kuba Giermaziak piloted the No. 30 MOMO NGT Porsche for qualifying, and on the first lap, Giermaziak was fastest in the GTD field. Although it is always the goal to win the pole position, the team felt it was more important to get a good set-up for the race rather than aiming to qualify on pole. MOMO NGT team strategists agree that with an endurance race like Daytona, patience is imperative, as well as saving the car for a final push at the end.
Henrique Cisneros, MOMO NGT Motorsport Partner/Driver, No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Porsche 911 GTD:
"Qualifying went well. We've consistently been one of the faster cars in all the practice sessions, so we always knew the other brands were sandbagging a little. The Audis and the Ferraris had too much speed in qualifying, and the Porsches weren't anywhere near them. We did not go into qualifying with a qualifying setup. What we needed was a fast car for the race and I think that's what we have. Our car is in it for the long run and we're happy with where we're sitting."
Kuba Giermaziak, driver of No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Porsche 911 GTD: "The car was pretty good. We did a decent job for qualifying. It looks like the Porsches are not the fastest cars on the grid because we missed almost a second to pole position, which was absolutely out of our hands. There are many good drivers in the Porsches, but we are still lacking quite a bit of speed. I had a bit of traffic on my fastest lap, so I could've gone maybe two-tenths faster. At the end of the day, qualifying is not so important for a 24-hour race. The race will be long, so we're going to just have to survive the first 16-18 hours, and really push the last four, five hours. Last year, we started last and after the first stint we were first, so this year we're going to start a bit further up and see what happens."
Ramez Wahab, NGT Motorsport Team Owner, No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsports Porsche 911 GTD:
"The seven or eight fastest Porsches were all within one-tenth of each other during qualifying, which was impressive. Kuba had a few very fast laps, but we could see that he had a little issue at the bus stop during his fastest. He lost two tenths, so a couple of other guys went faster and we got stuck where we are. Regardless, I think we're one second off the fastest Audi, which is a huge gap. The Audi is incredibly fast, but I'm confident that we have the team to make it up during the race."
Beaux Barfield, MOMO NGT Motorsport Strategy Engineer:
"Kuba definitely put down a good first lap and I think that speaks volumes of his ability and how much work some of the Porsche teams have to do. After seeing qualifying, I think it's definitely going to be Porsches chasing Audis and Ferraris for 24 hours. In terms of qualifying, Kuba definitely showed his driving skills and once everyone got warm tires and up to speed, we fell down the line a little bit. The reality is that the Series has done a great job, because there is only about eight-tenths from pole position to where we were in 17th, so it's very tight competition. We will certainly see how it shakes out after 24 hours."
The green flag will drop on the 52nd Annual Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona at 2:10 p.m. ET on January 25. Tune in to FOX for the LIVE start of the race at 2:00 p.m. ET on January 25, then switch over to FOX Sports 2 at 4:00 p.m. Overnight coverage of the Rolex 24 will stream on imsa.com starting at 9:00 p.m. ET, with coverage returning to FOX Sports 1 at 8:00 a.m. ET.