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WeatherTech Championship

Derani Paces Night Practice for Action Express

Pipo Derani sets the pace in Thursday’s night practice session for Motul Petit Le Mans…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Pipo Derani set the quickest time in Practice 3, narrowly edging fellow Cadillac runner Renger van der Zande for the top spot in the first nighttime running of the week for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

Derani set the benchmark time of 1:10.175 in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering-sponsored Cadillac DPi-V.R late in the session, following up on his co-driver Filipe Albuquerque’s impressive showing in Practice 2.

Van der Zande was second 0.040 seconds behind, while Dane Cameron and Ricky Taylor turned in the third and fourth fastest time of the session for Acura Team Penske.

The quickest Mazda was the No. 55 of Harry Tincknell in fifth, and the top five times were covered by just 0.129 seconds.

LMP2 saw Mikkel Jensen set the pace in the No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks Oreca 07 Gibson, followed by Colin Braun and Simon Trummer for Performance Tech Motorsports and PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, respectively.

Porsche showed the way in the GT Le Mans class with the pair of CORE autosport-run Porsche 911 RSRs taking the top two spots in the night practice.

Laurens Vanthoor was the fastest of the bunch in the No. 912, ahead of teammate Fred Makowiecki in the sister No. 911. The No. 3 Corvette C8.R of Nicky Catsburg was next, with the fastest of the BMW Team RLL-entered M8s in fourth courtesy of Augusto Farfus.

The full six-car GTLM field was covered by just 0.622 seconds.

Jack Hawksworth was the fastest of the GT Daytona class runners during the session in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 for AIM Vasser Sullivan.

The No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R was second quickest in the hands of Jan Heylen, followed by Team Hardpoint’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Markus Winkelhock and Alessandro Balzan, who is making his series return in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3.

Including Darren Turner’s Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in fifth, the top five in GTD was made up of five different manufacturers and separated by less than four tenths of a second.

There were two red flags in the session brought out by incidents on track, the most significant of which came with 25 minutes remaining when Chris Miller and Ben Keating made contact.

The collision sent both drivers’ cars off track, and while Keating’s No. 74 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo was able to return to practice, Miller’s No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi suffered rear wing damage and did not continue.

Up next for the WeatherTech Championship is qualifying, beginning at 12:30 p.m. local time on Friday.

RESULTS: Practice 3

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is a pit reporter for SRO America's TV coverage as well as for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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