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Derani Leads Red Flag-Filled Opening Practice at Long Beach

Action Express Racing quickest in Practice 1 in Long Beach…

Photo: IMSA

Pipo Derani led the way in a red flag-filled opening practice session for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The Action Express Racing driver reeled off a best lap of 1:12.387 in his No. 31 Whelen-sponsored Cadillac DPi-V.R to outpace the No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac of Richard Westbrook by 0.942 seconds.

Both times came in the closing moments of the 60-minute session, which came to an early end due to an incident for the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 of Ben Barnicoat in Turn 1.

It was the fourth red flag of the session following separate incidents for Westbrook, the No. 59 Crucial Motorsports McLaren 720S GT3 of Jon Miller and Connor De Philippi’s No. 25 Team RLL BMW M4 GT3. 

All four cars from the reds did not appear to sustain any significant damage.

Tom Blomqvist put the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05 third on the time charts, followed by Sebastien Bourdais, who led the way early on in the session in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac.

Ricky Taylor completed the top-five in DPi in his Wayne Taylor Racing Acura DPi.

GTD was led by the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW of Bill Auberlen, thanks to a 1:19.891 for the recently inducted Long Beach Walk of Fame driver.

Auberlen’s time was four-tenths better than Marc Miller, who was second quickest in the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22.

Frankie Montecalvo was credited with the third quickest time in class, with all three GTD runners ahead of the quickest GTD Pro entry, driven by The Heart of Racing’s Ross Gunn.

The Aston Martin factory driver set a best time of 1:20.401 to edge out the No.  79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Raffaele Marciello and Matthieu Jaminet’s Pfaff Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Practice 2 gets underway at 1:15 p.m. PT and runs until 3 p.m. prior to qualifying later in the afternoon.

RESULTS: Practice 1

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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