The Brazilian went out in the middle of the session and dropped a staggering lap of 1m32.656s around the 3.56-mile road course to seize the top spot in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac V-Series.R.
The lap bested last year’s mark of 1m34.031s set by Tom Blomqvist, who is now Derani’s team-mate. Derani’s time also eclipsed the previous fastest-ever prototype lap set by Oliver Jarvis in a Mazda DPi at 1m33.685s to claim pole in 2019.
Sebastien Bourdais, Derani’s Cadillac Racing counterpart representing Chip Ganassi Racing, was the closest challenger to Derani, falling only 0.071s behind to end up second.
The No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport 963 had an adventurous run, with Felipe Nasr ending up third at 0.220s off the record time but not before spinning off in Turn 5. The top three were the only ones to go sub-1m33s laps.
Connor De Phillippi flexed the muscle of the BMW M Hybrid V8, putting it fourth at only 0.366s behind. In fifth was the No. 40 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06 driven by Louis Deletraz, trailing 0.444s off pole.
Proton Competition was the only GTP team to not put down a qualifying lap, which was due to Neel Jani crashing in the warm-up GTP session prior. The Porsche 963 was coming up on traffic entering Turn 5 while on cold tires for an out-lap. Jani had only run two laps prior to the shunt.
Ben Keating, who is double dipping into GTP and LMP2, continued to show his strength in qualifying, scoring the LMP2 class pole with a 1m38.501s in the No. 2 United Autosports USA ORECA. Remarkably, It is the fifth straight year Keating has captured the class pole.
The closest competitor to the top time was Nick Boulle, who was only 0.102s behind in the No. 52 ORECA for Inter Europol by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports.
Crowdstrike Racing by APR’s George Kurtz was a distant third, 0.751s behind.
Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images
#77 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R: Laurin Heinrich, Sebastian Priaulx, Michael Christensen
GTD and GTD Pro
AO Racing’s Seb Priaulx took the top spot in GTD Pro with a class track record with a time of 1m44.382s in the Porsche 911 GT3 R (992). The pace was substantially faster than last year’s mark of 1m46.093 by Winward Racing’s Philip Ellis.
Jack Hawksworth was only 0.080s behind in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.
Parker Thompson, Hawksworth’s team-mate, put the team’s No. 12 entry on pole in pro-am GTD with a 1m44.494s run. The outing by Thompson was a narrow 0.043s ahead of the MDK Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) of Klaus Bachler in second.
Katherine Legge was third in Gradient Racing’s Acura NSX GT3 in GTD, ending 0.146s off the mark set by Thompson.
Moments after the start of GTD and GTD Pro qualifying, Kellymoss with Riley’s David Brule stuffed the No. 92 Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) into the barrier while coming out of pit lane. The incident brought out the first red flag.