(Credit: Phil Allaway)

Derani Fastest in WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Happy Hour

Saturday morning dawned relatively cool and sunny.  However, the winds were kicking as well.  Prime conditions to put down your best possible laps prior to qualifying.

Mazda Motorsports came to play in the morningtime.  Spencer Pigot set an excellent time of 96.314 seconds early on to put his No. 55 on top of the charts with the special Le Mans paint scheme.  It served as a nice carrot for the teams to take shots at.

Teammate Jonathan Bomarito took the times down into the 1:35’s a little later in the session, a couple of tenths faster than on Saturday.  However, with 14 minutes remaining in the session, Tequila Patron ESM’s Pipo Derani re-asserted the pace that he showed in winning both Daytona and Sebring earlier this season. Derani set a lap of 95.484 seconds (128.189 mph), a lap that would not be usurped.

Derani’s lap was three-tenths of a second faster than Bomarito’s Mazda.  Michael Shank Racing’s Oswaldo Negri, Jr. was third quickest, another tenth and a half back.  Action Express Racing’s Christian Fittipaldi was fourth quickest and VisitFlorida.com Racing’s Ryan Dalziel was fifth.

In Prototype Challenge, it was again CORE autosport that set the pace.  First, team owner Jon Bennett was on top during his stint in the car.  After being overtaken by Starworks Motorsport’s Renger van der Zande, Colin Braun got back in the No. 54 and set a series of quick laps.  By the time, he was done, he had set a lap of 97.666 seconds (125.325 mph), good enough for eighth overall.

Braun’s lap was nearly four-tenths of a second faster than van der Zande in second.  Richard Bradley was third quickest in Starworks’ No. 88, while James French was fourth in the Performance Tech Motorsports No. 38 and José Gutierrez was fifth in the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports No. 52.

GT Le Mans continued to be close.  Richard Westbrook has been a real workhorse this weekend, driving the car in every session solo.  Why?  Ryan Briscoe had to exit, stage left.  And for good reason, too.

Back in Watkins Glen, Westbrook was fastest in Happy Hour with a lap of 102.129 seconds (119.848 mph).  BMW Team RLL’s Dirk Werner was second, followed by Risi Competizione’s Toni Vilander.

Finally, in GT Daytona, Stevenson Motorsports swept the practice sessions this week.  Lawson Aschenbach was quickest with a lap of 105.124 seconds (116.434 mph).  The Alex Job Racing/Team Seattle Porsche of Mario Farnbacher was second quickest, followed by Andrew Davis in the second Stevenson Audi.

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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 Tony Stewart's Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions.

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