Derani Keeps Action Express Ahead on Belle Isle

The Whelen-backed Cadillac DPi-V.R from Action Express Racing completed a sweep of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice sessions on Detroit’s Belle Isle in 2019 on the strength of Pipo Derani’s top lap in Friday afternoon’s second practice.

After Derani’s co-driver Felipe Nasr unofficially broke the prototype lap record in morning practice, Derani went 0.196 seconds quicker in the afternoon.

The second session was significantly more competitive: While only the top four lapped within the same second in Practice 1, the top nine DPi machines were that close in the last outing before qualifying takes place Friday evening.

Other Cadillac DPi cars and Team Penske’s Acura ARX-05 machines again occupied the top positions on the timesheet with Jordan Taylor, Helio Castroneves, Filipe Albuquerque and Dane Cameron filling the top five beyond Derani.

Oliver Jarvis’ best lap of the session put the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P in the sixth position after the Mazda Team Joest entry didn’t participate in Practice 1 due to technical issues.

After sustaining damage in a crash earlier in the day, JDC-Miller Motorsports’ No. 85 Cadillac missed the start of Practice 2 but was fast enough to place seventh in the session, which lasted 10 minutes longer than Saturday’s race will.

Robichon Fastest for Park Place

The Porsche 911 GT3 R from Park Place Motorsports was the fastest GT Daytona entrant in Practice 2 thanks to Zacharie Robichon’s quickest revolution of the temporary street circuit.

Robichon, with Pfaff Motorsports for the full season but joining Park Place for the WeatherTech Sprint Cup-only Detroit race, was a mere 0.013 seconds quicker than Christina Nielsen who placed second in Meyer Shank Racing’s No. 57 Acura NSX GT3.

Turner Motorsport’s BMW M6 GT3 was 0.136 seconds further back on its quickest trip around Belle Isle, which came with Bill Auberlen in the cockpit. The veteran driver completed the top five over Mario Farnbacher and Jack Hawksworth of Shank and and AIM Vasser Sullivan.

While the 11 DPi cars were separated by 2.032 seconds, the 11 GTD cars that turned laps in Practice 2 lapped within 1.133 seconds. Compass Racing’s McLaren 720S GT3 missed the session after its crash with the aforementioned JDC-Miller Cadillac.

Qualifying is next for the WeatherTech Championship in the Motor City. The GTD field will take the track first at 5:20 p.m. EDT for its 15-minute qualifying outing before the DPis have their turn at 5:45 p.m.

Aaron Durant
Aaron Durant
Aaron brings a developing design and editorial vision to The Apex every day and co-hosts The Braking Point podcast every week. As editor-in-chief and an avid reader, Aaron enjoys aligning his relentless care for quality with an interest in counterintuitive approaches.

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