Denied a chance at victory in the closing minutes of the recent Motul Petit Le Mans, Pipo Derani bounced back by leading the opening practice for the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship Saturday morning at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Derani led the one-hour IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship opening practice with a lap of 1m15.851s in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, 0.519s ahead of surprise Petit Le Mans winner Renger van der Zande in the DPi-points leading No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac.
The two Team Penske Acuras were next, with Juan Pablo Montoya, +0.559s in the No. 6 Acura ARX-05 and Helio Castroneves +0.579s back in the No. 7 Acura — the car (then driven by Ricky Taylor) Derani tangled with at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Competition was tighter in the two GT classes.
Antonio Garcia got in an early lap of 1m21.898s that stood up in GTLM. Nick Tandy was second, +0.132s in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR-19, with Porsche GT Team partner Earl Bamber +0.243s in the No. 912 Porsche.
In GTD, Bill Auberlen put in an early fast time of 1m24.754s in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 that also stood up. Andy Lally was second, +0.176s in the No. 44 GRT Magnus Lamborghini Huracan GT3, followed by Mario Farnbacher, +0.206s in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3.
The lone LMP2 entry is the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07-Gibson, with a best lap of 1m19.515s by Simon Trummer.
The session was briefly red flagged at the 44m mark when Tristan Nunez in the No. 77 Mazda RT-24P clobbered a trackside sign at Turn 9 while avoiding the slow No. 85 Cadillac DPi-V.R of Stephen Simpson. That scattered debris across the track.
The session was run under sunny skies with chilly 57-degree temperatures.
UP NEXT: Final practice — a 1h15m session — begins at noon PT. The WeatherTech Championship qualifies Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m., with the race at 1:05 p.m. PT.