Marco Andretti roars to first career street course pole for Detroit GP Race 1

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Marco Andretti blistered the second IndyCar qualifying session Saturday morning to take the pole for this afternoon’s Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Grand Prix Race 1 (3 p.m. ET) at Belle Isle Park.

Andretti roared to the top of the speed chart with an outstanding lap of 1:14.8514 at a speed of 113.024 mph, in the closing minute of the second qualifying session.

Andretti’s elapsed time was nearly a half-second quicker than Robert Wickens at (1:15.3267 at 112.311 mph) in the 12-minute session. It is Andretti’s career-best start on the 2.3-mile street course and his fifth career pole (first on a street course).

“I knew we just had to execute,” Andretti said. “I’ve wanted a street course pole for a while, so I’m really happy. Now, I immediately am switching my brain to try to win this race. We need a win.”

Andretti’s previous best start at Detroit was sixth, while his career-best finish has been second in 2015.

The two qualifying sessions set the field for today’s race in a unique way. The first session determined those in even-numbered positions in the race, while the second session determined the those in odd-numbered spots in the race.

Ergo, even though Scott Dixon was fastest in the first session, he will start today’s race from the outside of the front row. Even so, it was a good morning for Andretti Autosport, which qualified three of its four drivers entered in the race in the top five spots.

Robert Wickens will start third.

“It was good,” Wickens said of his qualifying effort. “We were really quick on the blacks (tires). Great job by the team. We should be pretty good in the race.”

Drivers in both sessions had to run at least one lap each during qualifying on both black and red Firestone tires.

Here’s the starting lineup:

Row 1: Marco Andretti and Scott Dixon

Row 2: Robert Wickens and Alexander Rossi

Row 3: Ryan Hunter-Reay and Indy 500 winner Will Power

Row 4: Takuma Sato and teammate Graham Rahal

Row 5: James Hinchcliffe and Max Chilton

Row 6: Ed Jones and Spencer Pigot

Row 7: Simon Pagenaud and teammate Josef Newgarden

Row 8: Tony Kanaan and Zach Veach

Row 9: Sebastien Bourdais and Santino Ferrucci

Row 10: Gabby Chaves and Jordan King

Row 11: Matheus Leist and Charlie Kimball

Row 12: Rene Binder

Here are results of the two qualifying sessions:


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Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.