Montoya, Acura Take IMSA pole in Detroit
Juan Pablo Montoya outdueled his Acura Team Penske teammate, Helio Castroneves in qualifying today at the Detroit Belle Isle street circuit to head an all-Acura front row for Saturday’s fifth round in the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Acura Team Penske Prototype
After trading fast times with Castroneves throughout the final minutes of qualifying, Montoya placed his #6 Acura ARX-05 on the pole by a margin of just over two-tenths of a second.
It was the first pole of 2019 for Montoya, winner earlier this month with co-driver Dane Cameron at the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio; and the second pole of the season for Acura. Castroneves was fast qualifier last month at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Castoneves slotted his #7 ARX-05 into second on the grid, and will again share his Acura with Ricky Taylor in Saturday’s 110-minute race, one of two street circuits on the IMSA calendar.
Montoya’s time, eclipsing the previous track qualifying record by nearly three seconds, edged out teammate Helio Castroneves by 0.207 seconds for the front row lockout in GM’s backyard.
Jonathan Bomarito made a last-lap improvement to place the Team Joest-entered Mazda RT24-P third on the grid after bouncing back from engine-related issues earlier in the day.
It marked Montoya’s second career WeatherTech Championship pole as he and co-driver Dane Cameron seek back-to-back wins on Saturday.
Pipo Derani, who topped the time charts in both practice sessions and led for the majority of qualifying, was forced to settle for fourth in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, with teammate Joao Barbosa completing the top-five.
The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi of Renger van der Zande was sixth, ahead of Tristan Nunez in seventh.
Foley Takes Pole in GTD
Robby Foley claimed his first career pole following a fierce duel with Zach Robichon for the top spot in GT Daytona.
Foley took his No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 to a quick lap of 1:29.704, edging out Robichon’s Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R by just 0.031 seconds.
He will share the wheel with BMW veteran Bill Auberlen tomorrow.
The top-five in GTD were separated by less than eight-tenths of a second, with the pair of Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evos of Christina Nielsen and Trent Hindman qualifying third and fourth, respectively.
Mid-Ohio pole-sitter and class winner Richard Heistand will start fifth in the WeatherTech Sprint Cup championship-leading No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.
The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle gets underway Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET, with live coverage on NBCSN.
Juan Pablo Montoya (driver, #6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05) pole qualifier, second Acura pole of 2019: “We struggled a little bit this morning with the car’s balance, but in qualifying it was good. It had a bit of understeer at the start [of qualifying], but it just kept getting better and better. It was fun, it was a hell of an effort from the whole Acura Team Penske group. Qualifying here is big, especially on a street course like Detroit. This is really, really big. Anything can happen in the race, but, for today, it was pretty amazing.”
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