In the final race of the Tequila Patron and Extreme Speed Motorsports partnership Pipo Derani put the #22 Nissan DPi on pole position. His time of 1:10.437 was just 0.124 seconds clear of second.
“It’s been three emotional years since joining the team… obviously, we still have the race to win but what a way to start this weekend.” Said Derani. “This is not an easy weekend for us but Tequila Patron has been an amazing sponsor and I’m really proud that I was able to have been a part of this group. The memories, the friendship, and the great moments like today.
“In any race, it’s important to start up front, but this one has a special feeling, especially for myself. This is my last race with the team, and ESM’s last race with Tequila Patrón. It’s very emotional for the entire team, and it shows how hard we’ve been working the last three years. When I joined the team, we had lots of highs. What a better way to finish an era than to start on pole! We still have the race tomorrow, but I’m happy and grateful for the car they’ve given me to get on pole position.”
Mazda Team Joest had a strong qualifying session with their cars are set to roll off second and third. The #77 Mazda RT24-P with Oliver Jarvis set a 1:10.561 with his teammate Jonathan Bomarito in the #55 Mazda RT24-P just 0.039 seconds behind.
DPi cars locked out the first six positions with the best placed global LMP2 being the #85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 with Simon Trummer setting a 1:10.912.
There were two small incidents in the session, firstly being the #55 Mazda that had slowed to a stop momentarily before getting going again. The second incident involved the #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07 when Jose Gutierrez had a small spin at the top of the esses.
Edwards Sets Pole For BMW in GTLM
No GT Le Mans entry has won a race in which they started from pole this year in the always competitive class. Though this did not seem to slow down the nine entries who fought for pole.
Coming out on top of the session was the #24 BMW M8 GTE of John Edwards whose time of 1:17.006 was good enough for the top spot.
The championship-leading #3 Corvette Racing C7.R of Antonia Garcia and Jan Magnussen will start from the outside of row number two. Garcia had qualifying duties and went second quickest with a 1:17.030 time at the end of the session.
Third in class, and making it three different manufacturers in the class was the #912 Porsche 911 RSR with Earl Bamber. A 1:17.209 was the best that the Kiwi could manage in the special livery edition of his Porsche this weekend.
The Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE returns to IMSA completion but Toni Vilander could not find the pace that his competitors found. His best time of 1:17.774 was three tenths off eighth-placed and 0.768 seconds off pole.
Serra Sets GTLM Pole For WeatherTech Racing/ Scuderia Corsa
For GT Daytona Daniel Serra in the #63 Weathertech sponsored Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 scored pole position. His time of 1:19.695 set a new track record for that class of cars, and edged out second place by just 0.037 seconds. This is also Daniel Serra’s third pole in the IMSA WTSCC.
“I’m happy to be back with Scuderia Corsa…” said Serra. “Here [Road Atlanta] is one of the best tracks especially on a qualifying lap… the car was perfect again.”
In second was the #15 3GT Racing Lexus RC-F GT3 with Jack Hawksworth, his best time of the session was a 1:19.732.
Rounding out the top three in class was the Montaplast by Land Audi R8 LMS. The German-based team is competing in just the North American Endurance Cup rounds of the championship. South African Sheldon Van Der Linde set that car’s best time, a 1:19.744, just 0.012 seconds behind the front row.
The GTD championship leaders of the Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 will roll off the grid tomorrow in fifth after the locally based Bryan Sellers put in a 1:20.079.
The only incident in the session involved the #33 Team Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Ben Keating on board. That car slowed to a stop on track and the Texan was able to find a gap in the wall to reverse the car into. The car required a flatbed to get back to the paddock and it’s still unknown what the issue was, there was no visible damage or smoke from the car.
The 21st Annual Petit Le Mans begins tomorrow at 11:05 AM EDT or 3:00 PM UTC. The race can be watched on Fox Sports inside the U.S. and on IMSA.tv for those outside the U.S.