Renger van der Zande admitted he did not expect to get pole position in his first qualifying session with the Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team, which are run by Wayne Taylor Racing, but he was delighted to head the pack in Thursday’s Qualifying session for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The Dutchman has switched to the team for 2018 alongside Jordan Taylor, while former Verizon IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay has joined for this weekend’s twice-around-the-clock race, and denied Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves by just seven-thousandths of a second to take top spot.
“I am super thrilled to be in the Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R,” said van der Zande on WayneTaylorRacing.com. “I didn’t expect to get the pole. When the team told me on the radio I got pole, I was excited.
“On the final lap, I overshot turn five and I floored it and the Cadillac stuck. Every lap I was taking time out and pushing. At some of the points, it is seven or eight meters later at the braking markers.
“The wind was pushing me up toward the wall. I had some traffic in the session. I actually let Helio pass. I was all in on the last lap and it turned out to be fast. It is very, very tight – the most competitive field in a long time.”
Van der Zande admits that joining Wayne Taylor Racing has brought along some additional pressure due to their high expectations, but he is happy to be a part of a team that knows how to win.
“The Konica Minolta Cadillac team has high expectations,” said van der Zande. “They know how to win a championship.”