Race Weekend Central

Pipo Derani Wins 12 Hours of Sebring Pole

With only one lap at the end of the session available, Action Express Racing’s Pipo Derani won the pole for the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Friday (March 15). Derani’s lap at 124.491 mph was not the fastest lap of the weekend, but it was fast when it counted.

Derani won the pole by .147 seconds over Chip Ganassi Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais. Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Global’s Louis Deletraz will start third in his Acura, then BMW M Team RLL’s Philipp Eng. Porsche Penske Motorsport’s Felipe Nasr was fifth.

The GTP session had a red flag seven minutes into the session when Porsche Penske Motorsport’s Mathieu Jaminet dropped a wheel exiting turn 1 and spun into the barriers. The Porsche 963 was not seriously damaged, but it was done for the session. Jaminet had not set a time when he crashed. As a result, he will start at the rear of the prototypes on Saturday.

At the time of Jaminet’s crash, only JDC-Miller MotorSports’ Phil Hanson had set a representative time in his Porsche 963. It was three seconds slower than his best lap of Thursday.

Ultimately, time was added to the session to get the 10 minutes of on-track time necessary for the session to be official. That meant that teams had four minutes to do a warmup lap, then qualify at speed.

Hanson was right on par in the ultra-short first sector, but fell off, qualifying sixth. Ultimately, Derani was able to beat out his Cadillac compatriot, something that Action Express Racing had not done all day Thursday.

Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Global’s Ricky Taylor appeared to be right where he needed to be. Then, his times were wiped out as a result of one of his crewmembers touching the car during the red flag. That is forbidden. As a result, he will start at the back of the prototypes.

In LMP2, the favorite for pole is typically United Autosports’ Ben Keating since the rules mandate that bronze-rated drivers must qualify in LMP2. Early in the session, Keating put himself on top of the chart.

However, AO Racing’s PJ Hyett set a lap at 120.062 mph in “Spike” to claim the pole for himself with five minutes to go. There was still plenty of time for the rest of the field to have a go at Hyett, but High Class Racing’s Dennis Andersen stopped at the hairpin and brought out a red flag with a minute remaining. That ended the session right then and there, giving Hyett his first career pole.

Hyett ended up .171 seconds ahead of Dan Goldburg in the second United Autosports entry. Keating will start third, followed by Inter Europol with PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ Nick Boulle. Riley Motorsports’ Gar Robinson was fifth.

Andersen ended up 10th quickest in the session. However, IMSA rules stipulate that anyone that brings out a red flag loses their two fastest laps. That will put Andersen at the back of the LMP2 class for the start.

The GTD Pro class saw Ford Multimatic Motorsports’ Joey Hand set the first truly competitive times in his Ford Mustang GT3, but it was not long before the first sub-two minute GT laps of the weekend were set.

First, Corvette Racing with Pratt Miller Motorsports’ Alexander Sims went low, followed by The Heart of Racing’s Mario Farnbacher. However, VasserSullivan once again came to the front when it mattered.

Jack Hawksworth set a lap at 113.415 mph to put his Lexus on top with six minutes to go, three-tenths of a second faster than anyone else. That time held up to give Hawksworth the GTD Pro pole.

Hawksworth’s lap was .550 seconds faster than Farnbacher. AO Racing’s Sebastian Priaulx will start third in his Porsche, followed by Sims. Iron Lynx’s Franck Perera will start his Lamborghini in fifth.

However, in post-race technical inspection, IMSA officials discovered illegally modified components on all four Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.Rs. This is a violation of homologation rules. As a result, all four Corvette teams (the two GTD Pro cars from Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports and the two GTD entries for Andrew Wojteczko Autosport) lost all their times from qualifying and will start in the rear of the field. Chevrolet was also fined $10,000.

As a result of the penalty, Perera moves up to fourth quickest in GTD Pro. Risi Competizione’s Davide Rigon will start fifth.

In GTD, Gradient Racing’s Sheena Monk was quick early on in her Acura, but Team Korthoff Motorsports’ Mikael Grenier quickly usurped her and put himself right with the quickest GTD Pro drivers.

Later on, Cetilar Racing’s Antonio Fuoco took over the class pole with a lap at 113.310 mph. He then pitted with five minutes to go. It was a little too early.

Winward Racing’s Philip Ellis put down a lap at 113.354 mph to win the GTD pole on the road. Unfortunately, the pole was stripped in post-qualifying inspection due to a violation of Section 7.18.5.b of the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD Technical Regulations. This rule refers to “restricted sensors.” If fitted to the car, they have to be in a specific position and transmit to IMSA’s scrutineering system.

As a result of Ellis’ penalty, Fuoco will start from the GTD pole in his Ferrari. He claimed the pole by .129 seconds over VasserSullivan’s Parker Thompson in the No. 12 Lexus. Grenier will start third, then Forte Racing’s Loris Spinelli in his Lamborghini. Lone Star Racing’s Scott Andrews will start fifth.

The only team that did not set an official time during the session was the Iron Dames Lamborghini driven by Sarah Bovy. The team did venture onto the 3.74-mile course and completed a slow lap, but not at speed.

The two AWA Corvettes that lost their times, driven by Orey Fidani and Anthony Mantella, respectively, qualified 20th and 21st in class. Losing their times will not significantly affect their track position.

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Qualifying Results

The Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring is scheduled to go green at 9:40 a.m. ET Saturday morning. Coverage of the race will start at 9:30 a.m. ET on Peacock. The race will be flag-to-flag on the Comcast-owned app all day. USA Network will pick up the race broadcast in progress at 4 p.m. ET.

About the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

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