Pipo Derani sets new track record to secure pole for the Rolex 24

Pipo Derani sets new track record to secure pole for the Rolex 24

Pipo Derani led an all-Cadillac front row and set a new track record to deliver Action Express Racing the pole position for the Rolex 24 at Daytona next weekend.

Reigning IMSA GTP Series Champion Pipo Derani brought the Roar Before the 24 to a thrilling conclusion after he broke the qualifying lap record at Daytona International Speedway to claim the pole position for the 62nd edition of the Rolex 24 Hours.

The Brazilian took the lead aboard the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac V-Series.R. shortly after he went out during mid-practice and turned in an astounding lap time of 1m32.656s on the 3.56-mile road course.

Derani’s time eclipsed his teammate Tom Blomqvist’s record from the previous year, which stands at 1m34.031s. His performance also crushed Oliver Jarvis’s record-breaking fastest prototype lap in a Mazda DPi, which he recorded in 2019 at 1m33.685s to take pole position.

Meanwhile, Bourdais in the gold #01 Cadillac entered by Chip Ganassi Racing lost out on pole position and the new lap record by 0.071 second. However, he did manage to secure an all-Cadillac front row for the Daytona 24 Hours next weekend.

Felipe Nasr finished third aboard the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport 963, 0.220 seconds off the record pace, but not before spinning out in Turn 5. Only the top three completed laps in under one minute and thirty-three seconds.

The BMW M Hybrid V8 showed off its power as Connor De Phillippi placed fourth, just 0.366 seconds off the benchmark. Louis Deletraz’s No. 40 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06 finished fifth, 0.444 seconds behind the lead as the sister ARX-06 finished sixth in the hands of Filipe Albuquerque.

In the No. 6 Penske Porsche, Nick Tandy finished seventh, while Jesse Krohn in the No. 24 BMW and Tijmen van der Helm in the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Porsche rounded out the GTP order.

Neel Jani’s incident in the warm-up GTP session earlier meant that Proton Competition was the only GTP team without a qualifying lap. The Porsche 963 was approaching traffic as it entered Turn 5 running on cold tires for an out-lap and crashed into the barriers. Before the shunt, Jani had completed just two laps.

Ben Keating’s skilled hands drove United Autosports’ purple #2 Oreca 07-Gibson to pole position in LMP2 for the first race of their new full-time adventure in the United States.

Keating tied Tandy’s record for the most poles in Rolex 24 history by extending his own run of five straight LMP2 pole positions, which got started in 2020. The top nine male drivers smashed the 2023 pole time, therefore his winning time of 1:38.501 did not set a new LMP2 qualifying record, however, it was two seconds faster than his last year’s pole time.

Keating’s previous team, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, which is now affiliated with Inter Europol Competition, will start second after Nick Boulle narrowly missed overtaking Keating by a tenth of a second. Despite having a solid first and second sector, Boulle and the green and yellow #52 Oreca missed their opportunity to claim pole at the chequered flag.

George Kurtz finished third In the #04 CrowdStrike by APR Oreca, followed closely by LMP3 champion Gar Robinson in the #74 Riley Oreca.

Seb Priaulx driving the No. 77 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R topped an extended GT qualifying session. However, a crash involving another Porsche, the No. 92 Kellymoss crashed with David Brule in a Riley car at Turn 3 triggering a 12-minute stoppage and interrupting the scheduled 15-minute session.

Priaulx eventually posted the fastest time of the session with 1:44.382, besting Jack Hawksworth’s No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 to GTD Pro pole by a mere 0.080 seconds.

Lexus posted the fastest times in GTD with Parker Thompson in the No. 12 RC F GT3, while Klaus Bachler in the No. 86 MDK Motorsports Porsche trailed him by only 0.043 seconds. Antonio Garcia’s No. 3 Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports car finished third in GTD Pro but only ninth overall in GTD.

Katherine Legge finished third after briefly leading the times in the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22, ahead of two Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2s: Kyle Marcelli’s No. 45 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti car and Loris Spinelli’s No. 78 Forte Racing car.

The new Ford Mustang GT3s proved to be slower than expected as Dirk Mueller’s No. 65 car finished ninth in GTD Pro, while sister No. 64 car finished 13th in the hands of Harry Tincknell.

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