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WeatherTech Championship

Taylor Storms to Sebring Pole in Close Qualifying Contest

Acura Team Penske takes pole for title-deciding race; van der Zande qualifies close second…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Ricky Taylor has claimed pole for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in a closely fought qualifying session for Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship title decider.

Taylor reeled off a 1:46.904 lap in the DPi championship-leading No. 7 Team Penske Acura ARX-05 to edge out title contender Renger van der Zande by 0.251 seconds.

The No. 6 Acura DPi of Dane Cameron was third, just 0.266 seconds slower than Taylor, after initially putting the second best time up until van der Zande’s late flyer.

It marked Taylor’s 11th career WeatherTech Championship pole, in his last outing for Team Penske.

Taylor and co-driver Helio Castroneves head into tomorrow’s season finale with a two-point lead over van der Zande and Ryan Briscoe. 

Sebastien Bourdais qualified the No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac in fourth with Harry Tincknell completing the top-five in the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P.

The No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac of Pipo Derani struggled in the session, having posted only the sixth quickest time in class, ahead of the No. 77 Mazda, qualified by Oliver Jarvis.

Derani remains with an outside chance of taking the DPi title.

LMP2 pole honors went to the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson of Patrick Kelly, who outpaced the competition by nearly two seconds.

It kept Kelly’s streak alive of scoring class poles in every race contested this season.

A total of four Orecas are set to take part in the race.

Corvette on Pole for Fifth Consecutive Race

Champion-elect Antonio Garcia claimed top qualifying honors in GT Le Mans, giving the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R its fifth consecutive class pole.

Garcia recorded a fast lap of 1:55.456 to edge out the No. 25 Team RLL BMW M8 GTE of Connor De Phillippi by 0.660 seconds.

Teammate Jesse Krohn was third in the No. 24 BMW, ahead of the No. 4 Corvette, qualified by Tommy Milner.

The pair of Porsche 911 RSR-19s, in their final factory race in class, brought up the rear of the field after topping the early sessions of the weekend.

Nick Tandy was fifth quickest ahead of the No. 912 entry of Neel Jani, who is making his GT racing debut this weekend.

Heylen Takes GTD Pole for Championship Contenders Wright

Jan Heylen scored his first career WeatherTech Championship class pole in a blazing lap by the U.S.-based Belgian.

The Silver-rated driver reeled off a 2:00.844 lap time in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R to outpace the No. 30 Team Hardpoint Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo of Andrew Davis by 0.702 seconds.

Heylen will share driving duties with full-season drivers Patrick Long and Ryan Hardwick, who are seven points from the class championship-leading No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo.

The Acura qualified eighth in class in the hands of Shinya Michimi.

Aaron Telitz, who sits third in the title race, will roll off from third on the grid in the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, with Richard Heistand and Cooper MacNeil completing the top-five for Grasser Racing Team and Scuderia Corsa, respectively.

The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring gets underway Saturday at 10 a.m. ET with live coverage on NBCSN and IMSA Radio.

RESULTS: Qualifying

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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