The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round at Detroit’s Belle Isle may be Cadillac’s home race, but Acura is knocking on its front door after Sebastien Bourdais had to fend off a pair of hard-charging Acura ARX-05cs in qualifying on Friday. This was Bourdais’ fourth pole of the season and fifth in his IMSA career.
Bourdais brushed the wall on the exit of Turn 2 and praised the durability of the Cadillac for being able to take the hit and still manage to lay down a lap good enough for pole.
“You have to commit so much to putting a lap together around here,” Bourdais said. “You really expose yourself and I think that’s why you see so many mistakes, because it’s a very unforgiving place.”
It took until his final lap, but Bourdais guided the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R. to a time of 1m18.818s that relegated Tom Blomqvist and the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura to second.
A final flying lap from Ricky Taylor was not enough to unseat Bourdais, leaving the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05c on the inside of the second row for tomorrow’s race. Blomqvist was 0.110s behind Bourdais and Taylor was just 0.017s off of Blomqvist.
Olivier Pla, in his debut race with the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R., qualified fifth, ahead of Tristan Vautier and behind Alex Lynn.
Bourdais spun on his cool-down lap and had to reverse down the track to find a spot where he could turn around. There were no other notable incidents.
Leading practice sessions in both IMSA and IndyCar was not quite enough for Kyle Kirkwood, who ended his Friday with another statement by placing the No. 17 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC-F GT3 on pole in GT Daytona by 0.118s with a time of 1m29.096s.
Kirkwood noticed a change in winds during the IndyCar practice session which made the car looser into Turn 1. After finishing IndyCar practice, he went straight to Vasser Sullivan and had the team add more downforce in response to the changes. Bourdais pointed to that wind shift as one of the factors that led to him brushing the wall on the exit of Turn 2.
Kirkwood, meanwhile, joked that he had never been to the media center twice in one day.
“I was absolutely non-stop (today),” Kirkwood said. “I’ve definitely got a headache now from how much stuff I was doing and how dehydrated I am, because I was just running around non-stop.”
Kirkwood took the top spot from Roman De Angelis who was briefly at the top of the charts with a 1m29.214s on his final lap. Madison Snow in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 finished third after holding onto provisional pole for most of the 15-minute session.
It was a disappointing outing for the No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes AMG. The championship leaders finished first and second in the opening practice sessions, but Stevan McAleer was unable to find the pace that Mike Skeen had managed. They will start eighth.
UP NEXT: Race, 3:10 p.m. ET, Saturday