Westbrook takes TUDOR pole at Belle Isle

Richard Westbrook
Richard Prince for Chevy

A Corvette DP will lead the field at the start of Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Detroit Belle Isle — right in the shadow of the automaker’s world headquarters.

Richard Westbrook posted the fastest lap in Friday’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Prototype (P) qualifying, lapping the 2.36-mile circuit in 1 minute, 25.001 seconds (99.517 mph) on his final lap. He was 0.18 seconds faster than Ryan Dalziel, whose last lap also was his fastest in the No. 1 Honda-powered prototype.

Westbrook thought his seventh lap was the best his car had, but he managed to wring a better one out of it on the final lap.

"I did a (one minute) 25.1 with three laps to go and they came on the radio and said you’re going to need a (one minute) 25.0," he said. "I threw caution to the wind.

"Today felt like our day."

It was his first pole of the season and fifth of his career.

Christian Fittipaldi, who had his best lap on his sixth run in the No. 5 Corvette DP, will start third.

Westbrook, who’s seeking his first win of the season, had the second-best time in Friday’s second practice session but was almost a full second faster when it counted on the 2.36-mile Belle Isle road course.

"To get a good result in Detroit, the backyard of Chevy, and give yourself a nice big smile on the way to Le Mans would mean so much here," he said.

Fittipaldi and teammate Joao Barbosa, who opened the season with a win at Daytona, entered the weekend with the series points lead.

Oliver Pla drove his Nissan prototype to the fourth starting spot.

Brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor, tied for second in the standings with Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett, qualified fifth.

Spencer Pumpelly’s final lap was the fastest in GT Daytona qualifying and he’ll lead the class to the green flag Saturday.

His 1:32.914 lap was 0.278 seconds better than Jeroen Bleekemolen. Pumpelly’s Audi R8 LMS will start alongside Bleekemolen’s SRT Viper GT3-R.

“This is a really good track for the R8," said Pumpelly, who earned his second straight pole and the ninth of his career. It handles bumps really well. The course is a lot better but it’s still bumpy."

Pumpelly and teammate Nelson Canache Jr. arrived in Detroit four points out of the series lead after a heartbreaking defeat at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca that saw them dominate before running out of fuel on the final lap.

Pumpelly said he expects tight racing Saturday even with only two of the four TUDOR Championship classes running.

“Even though walls are close here, people are usually on their best behavior as a result," Pumpelly said. “I expect good battles in both classes and it’ll probably be pretty tricky with both classes running together."

The Chevrolet Sports Car Classic begins at 12:10 p.m. ET Saturday, with the FOX Sports 1 broadcast beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Results

1. (90) Richard Westbrook, Corvette DP, 99.517 mph
2. (1) Ryan Dalziel, HPD ARX-03b, 99.495
3. (5) Christian Fittipaldi, Corvette DP, 99.367
4. (42) Olivier Pla, Morgan Nissan, 98.884
5. (10) Jordan Taylor, Corvette DP, 98.848
6. (60) Oswaldo Negri Jr, Riley DP Ford EcoBoost, 98.629
7. (2) Johannes van Overbeek, HPD ARX-03b, 98.153
8. (01) Memo Rojas, Riley DP Ford EcoBoost, 98.145
9. (31) Boris Said, Corvette DP, 97.295
10. (07) Joel Miller, Mazda, 92.617
11. (70) Sylvan Tremblay, Mazda Prototype Diesel, 92.028
12. z-(45) Spencer Pumpelly, Audi R8 LMS, 91.052
13. (33) Jeroen Bleekemolen, SRT Viper GT3-R, 90.780
14. (73) Kevin Estre, Porsche 911 GT America, 90.728
15. (94) Dane Cameron, BMW Z4, 90.631
16. (007) James Davison, Aston Martin V12 Vantage, 90.599
17. (22) Leh Keen, Porsche 911 GT America, 90.595
18. (63) Alessandro Balzan, Ferrari F458 Italia, 90.423
19. (23) Mario Farnbacher, Porsche 911 GT America, 90.297
20. (58) Jan Heylen, Porsche 911 GT America, 90.272
21. (30) Kuba Giermaziak, Porsche 911 GT America, 90.099
22. (555) Townsend Bell, Ferrari F458 Italia, 89.951
23. (48) Christopher Haase, Audi R8 LMS, 89.945
24. (81) Damien Faulkner, Porsche 911 GT America, 89.887
25. (35) Dion von Moltke, Audi R8 LMS, 89.792
26. (64) Kyle Marcelli, Ferrari F458 Italia, 89.658
27. (27) Andrew Davis, Porsche 911 GT America, 89.451
28. (18) Sebastian Asch, Porsche 911 GT America, 89.172
29. (46) Charles Espenlaub, Audi R8 LMS, 89.083
30. (44) Andy Lally, Porsche 911 GT America, 89.082

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