Sebastien Bourdais broke the DPi lap record and landed pole for the Sebring 12 Hours of the IMSA SportsCar Championship, leading a Cadillac lockout of the front row.
Bourdais, who won last year’s race driving the Cadillac DPi-VR for JDC-Miller, set a time of 1.45.166 seconds in Chip Ganassi Racing’s #01 car, breaking the existing lap record by more than two tenths of a second. closest opposition by just 0.026s.
Impressively, the top four cars were below the lap record, covering just 0.157 seconds.
It took Bourdais just two laps to warm up his tires and deliver his knockout blow to the opponent, leaving the car he shares full-time with Renger van der Zande and former IndyCar rival Ryan Hunter-Reay this weekend. lead to the green in the 70th Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Pipo Derani in the Action Express Racing #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac languished in the margins of Bourdais until he was just two and a half hundredths slower.
Although he came up short, he still managed to get ahead of a very brave effort by Ricky Taylor in the Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05, who beat Alex Lynn’s best effort in the second Ganassi Caddy by just a few hundreds overshadowed.
Mike Rockenfeller was 0.4 seconds off pole in the second AXR entry, the Ally Cadillac, while Tom Blomqvist was a full second behind in the Meyer Shank Racing Acura.
Tristan Vautier, driving the JDC-Miller Cadillac that spun out of Turn 1 with 10 minutes left in the qualifying session, had his right wheels off the track exiting the corner, sending the car back in where it hit the Armco barrier hit. The impact wiped out the splitter and prematurely ended the session for the defending race-winning team, sending it down to seventh on the grid.
Ben Keating did his traditionally fine job, taking pole in LMP2 in the #52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports entry, with Henrik Hedman second for DragonSpeed but six-tenths slower.
It was nevertheless one-tenth ahead of the second PR1 Mathiasen car driven by Steven Thomas, while Dwight Merriman completed the top four in the Era Motorsport entry.
#52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca LMP2 07: Ben Keating, Mikkel Jensen, Scott Huffaker
Photo by: Jake Galstad/Motorsport Images
A truly exciting battle for LMP3 pole ensued as newcomer Harry Gottsacker’s Muehlner Motorsports Duqueine took on Gar Robinson in the Riley Motorsports Ligier and Andretti Autosport’s similar car driven by Jarett Andretti.
The latter seemed to have put the matter beyond doubt with a 1.57.234s, putting him 0.376s ahead of the field, but Robinson was less than a tenth short on his penultimate round and was not about to give up. He drove his boxing Ligier past the black and white checkered flag with a time of 1min57.048sec, and although Andretti tried his best in his final round, he was just 0.035sec short.
Their battle put them over half a second ahead of Gottsacker, who nonetheless pushed FastMD Racing’s Max Hanratty into third, while Performance Tech Motorsports’ Dan Goldburg and CORE autosport’s George Kurtz were sixth.
Qualifying in the combined GT class was halted when John Potter’s Magnus Racing Aston Martin Vantage came to a stop at Turn 10, causing a red flag. Six cars – the #66, #28, #21, #47, #42 and #97 – served a drive-through penalty for queuing out of the pit to wait for the session to resume , which is not allowed by IMSA’s rules.
If the session resumed with barely five minutes to go, that six would just have time to warm up their tires and put in a flying lap after serving the penalty.
This was irrelevant to Daniel Serra, who set a 1.49.414 sec. for Risi Competizione to put the #62 Ferrari 488 at the top of the GTD Pro times, just 0.017s. faster than Mirko Bortolotti in the TR3 Racing Lamborghini Huracan.
Next up was Zacharie Robichon, who, by finishing third overall in the Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R, was the fastest in the GTD class, just 0.025 seconds ahead of Robbie Foley in the Turner Motorsports BMW M4.
Russell Ward, who suffered a shunt yesterday, recovered in impressive style to take third in GTD driving the Winward Mercedes AMG GT3, while Madison Snow finished fourth in GTD, sixth overall, in Paul Miller Racing’s first event with a BMW M4.
Behind him in fifth place was the Cetilar Racing Ferrari 488, with Giorgio Sernagiotto being the fastest of the cars to have served a drive-through penalty.
Third in GTD Pro, but eighth overall was Antonio Garcia in the Corvette C8.R, which IMSA Radio revealed has received a 20 horsepower boost as IMSA shakes the balance of performance for a car that has only one race left in its evolution as a GT3 machine.
Alex Riberas did his usual solid work in the Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage, clocking fourth fastest in GTD Pro, ahead of Matt Campbell’s Pfaff Porsche, Aaron Telitz in the #14 Lexus RC F and Nick Yelloly in the fastest of the works BMW M4s .