Pipo Derani and Action Express secure pole as Cadillac locks out front row at Sebring

Pipo Derani and Action Express secure pole as Cadillac locks out front row at Sebring

Pipo Derani and Action Express Racing reaffirmed their dominance after claiming pole for the 72nd Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring following a chaotic qualifying session.

Pipo Derani secured the pole position for the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring presented by Cadillac on Saturday, setting the stage for an all-Cadillac front row for the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Action Express Racing marked their second consecutive pole position, as well as their third in Sebring 12H in the last four seasons. However, Mathieu Jaminet’s crash in the #6 Porsche Penske Motorsports 963 threw off much of the 15-minute GTP qualifying session.

Jaminet’s car swerved to the right and struck the wall head-on after he clipped too much dirt off the turn one exit. Although the Frenchman managed to escape the crash into the armco barrier unhurt, his car was too damaged to resume running and the #6 Penske Porsche will be starting the race from the rear of the GTP grid.

After the session resumed, the remaining ten drivers had a small window of time to put together a fast lap time. Eventually, the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-Series.R grabbed the pole just like it did the year before with the fastest lap of 1:48.152.

Ricky Taylor’s No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06 had initially set the fastest lap of the session at 1:48.038, however, the team lost all qualifying times after they worked on their car while the red flag was out.

Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac qualified in second place with a time of 1:48.299 while Philipp Eng’s No. 24 Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8 qualified in third place.

Phil Hanson finished fourth in the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Porsche after holding the provisional pole position before Jaminet prompted the red flag. The incident came with nine minutes remaining in the session and the clock had to be reset with four minutes and four seconds left to run to the minimum required duration of the session.

The No. 5 Proton Competition Porsche will start from fifth ahead of Louis Deleraz’s No. 40 WTRAndretti Acura, which made a return following an engine change on Thursday night.

A number of GTP cars failed to record representative times, including the No. 63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini SC63, which made its WeatherTech Championship debut in 14th place overall with a time of 1:53.574, and the No. 25 Team RLL BMW driven by Connor De Phillippi which finished further down in 17th place.

In LMP2, PJ Hyett drove the No. 99 AO Racing Oreca 07 Gibson to the pole position.

Hyett recorded a 1:52.142 aboard the ‘Spike’ dragon liveried Oreca which was just 0.171 seconds faster than Daniel Goldburg’s No. 22 United Autosports entry which came in second.

The American secured his first pole position in the WeatherTech Championship after claiming the top qualifying spot in the Asian Le Mans Series last year.

The sister purple #2 United Autosports qualified third in the hands of Ben Keating despite suffering somewhat of a spin at turn three which may have impacted his push for pole position.

Nick Boulle will start from fourth in the #52 Inter Europol by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA while Dwight Merriman and Era Motorsport only managed an 11th in the Daytona-winning #18 ORECA.

However, at the last minute, Dennis Andersen triggered the red flag after his car skidded and came to a stop at the Hairpin (turn seven) which resulted in losing his two fastest laps. Merriman will consequently start from tenth place after promotion due to the loss of Andersen’s fastest laps, with the #20 MDK by High Class Racing ORECA falling to 11th.

Lance Willsey was five seconds off the time benchmark which landed him in 13th place driving the #33 Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier JS P217.

In GTD Pro, records were again shattered when Jack Hawksworth, driving the #14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 which was also sporting a special gold livery commemorating the 50th anniversary, took first place.

Hawksworth broke the one-minute, fifty-nine-second barrier and even smashed his own lap record from 2021(1:59.247) in IMSA GTD qualifying, which he continues to hold with a new lap time of 1:58.714, securing his 12th career IMSA pole position.

Meanwhile, Mario Farnbacher’s #23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 finished second in GTD Pro, half a second behind Hawksworth’s fastest time.

Seb Priaulx placed third in GTD Pro driving the #77 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, barely ahead of Antonio Garcia, last year’s Sebring pole winner in the #3 Pratt Miller Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R.

In GTD, Philip Ellis had initially taken first place with a time of 1:58.778, setting a class course record.

However, Ellis lost all of his lap times after it was discovered that the Daytona-winning #57 Mercedes-AMG GT3 had been fitted with unauthorised sensors after qualifying.

As a result, Antonio Fuoco, who appeared to be the early favorite for pole position, inherits the top spot in GTD with the #47 Cetilar Racing Ferrari 296 GT3. His best time of 1:59.014 turns out to be the new GTD course record.

Fuoco and Hawksworth’s #14 Lexus will start alongside each other in the front row for the combined GTD grid. Daytona GTD pole winner Parker Thompson qualified second in class in the #12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus followed by Mikaël Grenier in the #32 Korthoff Preston Motorsports Mercedes and Loris Spinelli in the #78 Forte Racing Lamborghini.

Sarah Bovy was the only driver unable to record a representative time in her #83 Iron Dames Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 after suffering a puncture during her out lap and will start the race from the bottom of the grid.

The Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring gets underway Saturday at 9:40 a.m. EDT with live coverage on Peacock and IMSA Radio.

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