Sebastien Bourdais made it two consecutive pole positions and four in the last IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races, setting a track record Friday to claim the top spot in the starting lineup for the final Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Belle Isle Raceway in Detroit.
The Chip Ganassi Racing No. 01 Cadillac driver turned a 1-minute, 18.818-second lap around the 14-turn, 2.35-mile street course to break the previous mark (1:19.373) set by Juan Pablo Montoya in 2019. It was the last opportunity to claim the record as the 100-minute event will move to a new downtown street course next year.
“I couldn’t leave the track record to Juan Pablo,” said Bourdais, who hit the Turn 2 wall early in the session. “It’s really sweet. Obviously, a couple of really big laps, a really big hit and super happy that the Cadillac is so strong because any other car, that was the end of the session halfway through.
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“I took off and ended in the wall pretty square in Turn 2. That was unexpected. There was a strong tailwind in (Turns) 1 and 2, and it caught me off-guard. Really happy for Cadillac at its home race. Big commitment around here; really rewarding. It’s really the first time I put everything together in qualifying in Detroit.”
Bourdais and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Renger van der Zande won from the pole at Long Beach, California, but were unable to close the deal from the pole last month at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and at Sebring International Raceway in March.
The No. 01 won last year’s Detroit race with van der Zande and Kevin Magnussen, and Cadillacs have won three of the past four DPi races at Detroit.
That’s another pole! It’s the fourth pole position for the No. 01 @CadillacVSeries team. 🏁
— Chip Ganassi Racing (@CGRTeams) June 3, 2022
Bourdais beat out the two Acuras in the field as Tom Blomqvist qualified second (0.110 seconds behind) in the No. 60 ARX-05 for Meyer Shank Racing. Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing.
In GTD, Kyle Kirkwood put the No. 17 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F GT3 on the pole position by closing the qualifying session with a lap of 1-minute, 29.096-seconds to knock off No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 driver Roman De Angelis by 0.118 seconds.
It’s the second career IMSA pole for Kirkwood (who qualified first for the 2021 Six Hours at the Glen) and the 10th pole for Vasser Sullivan Racing.
“It’s been a hectic day, but I love driving race cars and that’s what we’re doing today,” Kirkwood said. “It’s a lot of balancing. Making sure I make engineering meetings for both teams. Everyone has gathered around and helped out a lot to make sure that I get to all of the right places.
“Today ranks pretty high up there in my career. I’ve definitely got a headache now from all the running around I’ve done, but it’s been a lot of fun. My passion is racing cars and I got to do a lot of it today.”
The broadcast of the 100-minute race will begin at 3 p.m. ET Saturday on USA Network.