Returning to the Raceway at Belle Isle Park after making his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut at the track a year ago, Robby Foley put the lone BMW in the GT Daytona field on the class pole in Detroit.
Hailing from New Jersey, Foley completed eight laps of the 2.34-mile temporary street circuit and was challenged most closely by one-off Park Place Motorsports driver Zacharie Robichon.
Foley executed a 1:29.704 lap — on the strength of setting the best third sector — and returned to pit lane while Robichon, usually with Pfaff Motorsports but aligning with Pfaff to earn WeatherTech Sprint Cup points, stayed on track for one more flying lap.
After losing time in the middle sector on the previous lap, the Canadian driver aborted his ninth and final lap when it was interrupted by traffic. Robichon’s 1:29.735 perhaps doesn’t represent his full capabilities after his first day lapping Belle Isle but the lap earned he and co-driver Patrick Long a second-place starting position for Saturday’s 100-minute race.
Foley’s first WeatherTech Championship pole will help him avoid early trouble four weeks after contact with a GTD-entered Porsche took Turner out of contention on Lap 1 last time out at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Christina Nielsen was Foley’s only other challenger during the brief qualifying outing but ultimately came 0.422 seconds short of the pole in the No. 57 Acura NSX GT3.
Nielsen will share the second row with the other Meyer Shank Racing Acura after Trent Hindman qualified fourth in the No. 86 entry. Frankie Montecalvo completed the top five in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3.
After sustaining damage during its first session on Belle Isle to begin the day, Compass Racing’s McLaren 720S GT3 was qualified to the eighth position by Matt Plumb.
What at first appeared to be a loose wheel turned out to be a suspension issue for the No. 8 Audi R8 LMS GT3 prepared by Starworks Motorsport. Parker Chase will start 12th and last in the all-GT3 class on Saturday with his only qualifying lap being nearly 40 seconds off the pace.
A 20-minute warm-up session early Saturday morning will precede the second and final street race for the WeatherTech Championship in 2019. NBCSN’s live coverage of the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic will open at 12:30 p.m. EDT — 10 minutes before the green flag is scheduled to fly.