The previous mark to beat in Prototype qualifying for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Road Atlanta fell by 0.877 seconds as Pipo Derani earned the overall pole for Saturday’s 10-hour season finale.
- Results: 2018 Motul Petit Le Mans Qualifying
The final qualifying outing of 2018 was dominated in the flagship Prototype category by Japanese hardware as Derani and Norman Nato used their Nissan Onroak DPis to battle the Mazda RT24-P duo qualified by Oliver Jarvis and Jonathan Bomarito.
While Derani came out on top to add to his pole earlier this season at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park, Jarvis ended up second, 0.124 seconds off the pole pace in the No. 77 Mazda DPi.
Beyond earning the final pole up for grabs in 2018, Derani will also hold the distinction of being the final driver to bring Extreme Speed Motorsports a pole with longtime sponsor Tequila Patron on the car.
The second Mazda will head up the second row after Bomarito came within 0.039 seconds of his teammate and, subsequently, 0.163 seconds of Derani. Nato will start fourth in the No. 2 Nissan DPi.
A Team Penske-entered ORECA 07 earned the Motul Petit Le Mans pole a year ago but, with its Acura ARX-05 duo this time around, the best the team could qualify was fifth. Ricky Taylor landed there in the No. 7 Acura DPi ahead of Filipe Albuquerque, the fastest driver of a Cadillac DPi-V.R.
The championship-contending No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi and CORE autosport ORECA, split by just four points, will both start from the fifth row after qualifying 0.090 seconds apart.
A year on from Helio Castroneves’ pole run in Penske’s one-off entry with the ORECA, the Brazilian’s lap record was beaten by 11 of the 14 prototypes on hand in 2018.
A 20-minute warm-up outing scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. EDT Saturday will precede the 10-hour race. After FS1’s television coverage opens at 10:30 a.m., the green flag will fly at 11:05 a.m.