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Derani, Action Express Take Long Beach Pole

Written by Matthew Boyce Cover Image by Josh Tons/LAT

Pipo Derani bested the GTD field to take the pole for Saturday's Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, despite an incident at the end of the season that threatened to strip the pole away from them. After Derani set a 1:11.388 pole time in his No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac V-Series.R, Derani nosed his car into the tire barriers at turn 8 in the final moments of the session. However, because a red flag was not flown and Derani was able to return to pit lane, his pole time stood.

The No. 25 Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8 of Nick Yelloly will start second, barely missing out on the top time by 0.009 seconds. Sebastian Bourdais will start third after waiting until the final moments to set his fast time in his No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac. Bourdais will be followed by both Porsche Penske 963 machines fielded by Penske Racing with Nick Tandy and Dane Cameron behind the wheel.

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In GTD, Parker Thompson led a lockout of the front row for Vasser-Sullivan Racing as Thompson piloted the No. 89 Lexus RC F GT3 with a lap of 1:17.357. The time was two tenths of a second faster than the No. 12 Lexus of Frankie Montecalvo. With GTD Pro not present for this weekends championship round, Vasser-Sullivan has opted to split up both of their GTD Pro drivers Ben Barnicoat and Jack Hawksworth to pair with both of their silver drivers. The pairings have created immediate results, with both cars locking out the front row.

The No. 34 Conquest Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 of Albert Costa will start in third, while the No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo of Roman De Angelis will start in fourth. Rounding out the top five in the GTD class was the No. 45 WTRAndretti Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 of Danny Formal. Following an incident in the morning session for the No. 32 Korthoff Preston Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, Mikael Grenier found enough speed in the car to qualify in the sixth position for Saturday's race.

The green flag drops on the IMSA Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach at 1:35 p.m. PT (4:35 p.m. ET) with live coverage on USA Network, Peacock and IMSA Radio.


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