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Nasr, Derani Dominate Daytona Qualifying Race

Action Express Racing dominate first-ever qualifying race for Rolex 24…

Photo: IMSA

Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani claimed victory in Sunday’s Motul Pole Award 100, putting their Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R on pole for the 59th Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The Brazilian pairing dominated Sunday’s qualifying race for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener, despite starting from the rear of the seven-car DPi field due to a technical infringement.

Nasr took over the lead from the No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac of Tristan Vautier with 51 minutes remaining in the race, which started in damp conditions.

Derani got into the car in the final stop and cruised to a 3.664-second win over the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P of Harry Tincknell and Oliver Jarvis.

Derani and Nasr will be joined by reigning FIA World Endurance Championship champion Mike Conway and 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott in the Action Express Racing-run Cadillac in the Rolex 24.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen, in his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut, led the early stages on wet-weather Michelin tires until the second full-course caution when all of the DPi cars except for the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac pitted for slicks.

It gave the lead to Vautier, who ultimately finished third with co-driver Loic Duval in the No. 5 JDC entry.

Olivier Pla was the highest-placed Acura ARX-05 in fourth following a late charge in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing entry, with the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing entry completing the top-five.

Magnussen and Renger van der Zande, which went down a lap due to its miscue on strategy, was seventh.

PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports earned LMP2 honors and the class pole, thanks in part to a late-race pass by Mikkel Jensen on the No. 47 Cetilar Racing Dallara P217 Gibson of Antonio Fuoco, who led much of the second half of the race.

It came after Jensen’s co-driver Ben Keating, who started on class pole, spun on the pace lap amid the wet conditions.

An issue for the AF Corse-run Dallara saw it fade down the running order in the final five minutes, finishing sixth in class after an unscheduled pit stop.

LMP3 class honors went to the No. 6 Muehlner Motorsports Duqueine D08 Nissan of Laurents Hoerr and Moritz Kranz, which was one of only three cars in the seven-car class to finish the qualifying race.

Corvette Sweeps GTLM Front Row

Corvette Racing has swept the front row in GT Le Mans, led by the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R of Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy, in his team debut.

Tandy finished 12.398 seconds ahead of the sister No. 3 entry of Nicky Catsburg.

Kevin Estre led into the final 20 minutes of the race before having to pit his No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19, which finished third in class.

Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley, meanwhile, controlled GT Daytona in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, with Auberlen edging out the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Laurens Vanthoor by 4.424 seconds.

The Turner BMW benefited from a call to pit early, ultimately getting out ahead of the No. 111 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo and No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, which traded the class lead in the second hour.

Mirko Bortolotti brought the Lamborghini home in third in class, ahead of Oliver Gavin in the Lexus.

A number of cars did not finish the 100-minute race, either electing to pull into the pits early or due to various issues in the first-ever running of such an event at Daytona International Speedway.

RESULTS: Motul Pole Award 100

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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