DETROIT, Mich. (31 May 2019) – With Pipo Derani leading both of the day’s practice sessions, Whelen Engineering Racing had high hopes on Friday for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying at Detroit’s Belle Isle Circuit.
Derani then made a strong bid for the pole, leading both early and late in the 15-minute session driving the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R that he shares with Felipe Nasr. However, his best lap of 1:19.991-seconds was beaten by three competitors in the closing minutes, resulting in a fourth-place start for Saturday’s 100-minute race.
“We continue to do our job,” said Derani, who captured last year’s Detroit pole driving for a different team. “Unfortunately, this year we have seen others come up during qualifying to take us off the top of the time sheet.”
Cadillacs won at Detroit in both years of DPi competition, with Nasr and Eric Curran winning the 2017 event in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering entry.
“For the race, we have a good car – I like what I see in it,” said Derani. “We might not have the pure speed, but this fantastic Whelen team will put together amazing pit stops. Hopefully, we can win the race off of strategy. If the weather turns on us, we have shown that we are quick in the rain. If it is dry or wet, we will be strong! It is a matter of not making mistakes and executing our pit stops.”
Derani ran a quick time of 1:20.583-seconds to lead the morning practice session, and improved to 1:20.387-seconds, leading the 90-minute afternoon session.
Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic will be televised live on NBCSN, beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.