IMSA: Derani takes Prototype pole, Sellers sets GTD lap record in Detroit qualifying

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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Tequila Patron ESM’s Pipo Derani made perfect use of his final flying lap in qualifying for the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic, round 5 of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, to grab the pole for Saturday’s race in the No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi.

Derani’s final lap came in at a blistering 1:22.273, bettering Acura Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya by more than seven tenths of a second – Montoya’s best lap was a 1:22.992 in the No. 6 ARX-05.

Helio Castroneves made it an Acura/Penske 2-3, qualifying third in the No. 7 Acura. Joao Barbosa was fourth in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, while Misha Goikhberg put in an outstanding effort to qualify the No. 99 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson in fifth.

Of note: Goikberg’s teammate Robert Alon, in the No. 85 Oreca, crashed in the middle of the session, which brought out a brief red flag. Alon had been sitting in a solid fourth at the time, but dropped to ninth at the end, his car too damaged to continue.

In GT Daytona, Bryan Sellers turned in a mighty final lap of his own to put the championship-leading Paul Miller Racing. No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 on the pole. In fact, Sellers’ time of 1:28.942 – the only GTD time below the 1:29 mark – broke the GTD track record around the Raceway at Belle Isle Park.

Bryan Sellers’ final set a GTD track record at Belle Isle on his way to scoring the GTD pole. Photo courtesy of IMSA

Katherine Legge, who sits second in the GTD championship, qualified second in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3, with her teammate Justin Marks putting the sister No. 93 right behind her in third.

Dominik Baumann had a solid run for 3GT Racing, putting the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 fourth on the grid, with teammate David Heinemeier Hansson right behind him as well – Heinemeier Hansson put in the No. 15 Lexus in fifth.

Of note: qualifying was reduced from 15 minutes for Prototype and GTD to 12 minutes per class, after a weather delay cut into the qualifying time and saw the series bump up against the overall curfew for the day.

Results can be found here. Tomorrow’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic rolls off at 12:40 p.m.

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Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III