Photo courtesy of IMSA

IMSA: Taylor crash upends Detroit qualifying

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DETROIT – Polesitters for Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic were determined conventionally in two of the three classes, but not in the primary Prototype class.

Quick reports are below.

PROTOTYPE

The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team faces an uphill battle tonight that the Wayne Taylor Racing team was not expecting.

Ricky Taylor set what was the fastest time of the session at a 1:24.530, but lost control of the car through Turn 4, smashing into the concrete barrier on the outside.

It leaves Taylor and brother Jordan Taylor now stuck starting 12th and last among the combined prototype cars (Prototype and Prototype Challenge cars), because they caused a red flag.

The situation was made a bit more complicated because the Taylors, on the heels of four straight wins to open 2017, lead the points. With the grid determined “by other means” as the Taylor crash brought out a red flag because it didn’t complete the minimum 10 minutes of required green flag time, the field would be set by points. But because the Taylors brought out the red, that meant they lost their fastest lap.

It leaves the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac on pole for Saturday’s race, for the car driven by Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi.

The No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Racing Riley Mk. 30 Gibson was unlucky by the red flag timing. Renger van der Zande had what would have been the leftover top time of 1:24.693. He shares that car with Marc Goossens.

GT DAYTONA

Lawson Aschenbach has extended the streak of different drivers, teams and manufacturers to win a pole in GT Daytona this year.

After Ferrari, Mercedes-AMG, Lamborghini and Porsche had scored poles in the first four races this year, the Audi R8 LMS now has its first pole of the year courtesy of “Awesome Lawson,” in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Audi.

Aschenbach’s best lap was a 1:30.200, with a big gap of 0.341 to Katherine Legge, who did well to shoot up into the best starting position yet in IMSA for the No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3.

Aschenbach shares his car with Andrew Davis and Legge will share her’s with Andy Lally on Saturday.

Two Lamborghini Huracán GT3s from Paul Miller Racing and Change Racing were next, with Lexus getting into the top five on home soil for the 3GT Racing team, not far from the team’s Lansing headquarters.

With the top Porsche in sixth, Ferrari in seventh and Mercedes-AMG in ninth, there were seven different manufacturers in the top nine.

PROTOTYPE CHALLENGE

James French has scored his third pole of the season as Performance Tech Motorsports looks for its fourth win in as many races to kick off the season.

With young full pro-in-waiting French qualifying against the two gentlemen drivers for BAR1 Motorsports in Tomy Drissi and Don Yount, it was never really going to be a fair fight.

French’s best time of 1:28.494 in the No. 38 Oreca FLM09 was clear of the other two by 4.672 and 6.474 seconds, respectively.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.