Bourdais on pole for 12 Hours of Sebring

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Credit: IMSA Photo Shelter

Sebastien Bourdais and Chip Ganassi Racing take pole in DPi with a record-setting lap time in their #1 Cadillac DPi with a time of 1:45.166. Bourdais would qualify just .026 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, Pipo Derani in the #31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi. The top four DPi cars were all under the previous lap record and were only separated by a total margin of .157 seconds. Cadillac’s strength in numbers and their better performance in the warmer weather would see them control the DPi class qualifying.

In DPi it was a battle of trying to set a fast lap early on, with the top three qualifiers all leaving over three minutes left in the session after their fastest runs. According to Bourdais, this is due to fear of a mid to late-session red flag that would catch out those waiting until the final minutes to set a time.

This concern was almost a reality when Tristan Vautier in the #5 JDC Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi spun on the exit of turn one and hit the wall, causing moderate damage to his front valance, this saw them qualify last in DPi with just one flying lap and a time of 1:51.388. Due to IMSA qualifying rules, the team is not allowed to repair damages made in qualifying and thus JDC will start behind three LMP2 cars.

Ben Keating Credit: IMSA Photo Shelter

LMP2 saw a dominating performance by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports and Ben Keating in the #52 car with a time of 1:49.594, nearly half a second faster than Henrick Hedman in the #81 DragonSpeed USA car.

This marking Keating’s second LMP2 pole of the season, after just two races. It would be the #11 PR1 Oreca and Steven Thomas that would round out the top three in LMP2 with a time of 1:50.732. Keating commented on his performance saying, “I think it’s a little bit of home track advantage. I think there is a big advantage for me running in both series. It was a goal of mine to get below 1:50.”

The LMP3 session saw the #36 Andretti Autosport and Jarret Andretti locked in a fierce battle with Gar Robinson and the #74 Riley Motorsports car. The two Ligier JS P320s would fight down to the last second for pole position. Andretti looked set to claim it, improving on every lap and going nearly .200 faster at the checkered flag.

However, it would be Robinson who would take pole, improving by over .200 on his last lap with a final time of 1:57.048, just .035 seconds ahead of Andretti. In the #6 Muehlner Motorsports America Duqueine D08, Harry Gottsacker would round out the top three, over half a second behind with a 1:57.610. “I’ve always known Jarret to be really great competition. A lot of respect for those guys [Andretti Autosport],” Robinson stated, “Just goes to show all the hard work at Riley Motorsports.”

Andretti Autosport LMP3 Credit: IMSA Photo Shelter

GTD and GTD Pro would have an interesting qualifying session, to say the least. John Potter in the #44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin would bring out a red flag with 10 minutes remaining when his car died in the middle of a turn. The following four and a half minute red flag period would see six cars receive drive-through penalties for lining up at the pit exit under a red flag (#66, #28, #21, #47, #42, #97). The session would also see five GTD cars qualify between the second and third qualified GTD Pro cars, causing a mixed start for the race itself.

In the end, Daniel Serra in the #62 Risi Competition Ferrari would best Mirko Bortolotti in the #63 TR3 Racing Lamborghini for GTD Pro pole with a time of 1:59.414 on his final flying lap. Bortolotti falling just .017 seconds short of Serra and nearly .500 clear of Antonio Garcia in the #3 Corvette Racing Corvette. “I’m very happy with the team. We were improving every session with the car,” Serra remarked, “I’m happy to do a pole position here.”

Zacharie Robichon Credit: IMSA Photo Shelter

Rolex 24 at Daytona winners, Wright Motorsports, would qualify first in GTD with their #16 Porsche with Zacharie Robichon behind the wheel and a last-lap time of 1:59.763. Robichon narrowly edged out Robby Foley in the #96 Turner Motorsports BMW who set a 1:59.788. Robichon said after the session, “I’m super proud of the team, they welcomed me like family. It (Porsche) feels like home for me.”

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Hi, I'm Seth and I am an amateur racer/driver. I love Miatas and anything auto racing-related.
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