DETROIT – Zacharie Robichon celebrated his 27th birthday Friday at Detroit Belle Isle the best way possible – with his first pole in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona class.
The Canadian driver, who is substituting this weekend for Park Place Motorsports team owner Patrick Lindsey in the No. 73 Porsche 911 GT3 R, originally qualified second on Friday afternoon, but initial Motul Pole Award winner Robby Foley’s No. 96 entry failed post-qualifying inspection.
The No. 96 was found to have out of compliance camber settings was and moved to the back of the 12-car GTD grid. As a result, Robichon’s Porsche inherited the GTD top spot for Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear.
“It’s not the way you want to do it,” said Robichon. “It’s too bad for the Turner guys, they had a great car and obviously had the pace. But we were really close and I’m really proud to get this for the Park Place team because they kind of threw me in the car this weekend. It’s going to be a different kind of beast for me to tame on the start, but really looking forward to it.”
Robichon’s time was only .031 of a second behind Foley’s at one minute, 29.735 (94.277 mph) at the conclusion of the 15-minute qualifying session.
“Everybody’s been telling me here that’s next to impossible to pass and I can definitely see it from being on track,” said Robichon. “It’s my first time here, my first time in a race environment in this setting. I’ve done some street races before and have seen that you can really control a race from the start.”
Robichon currently drives full time in GTD in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, which is not competing this weekend in Detroit. Instead, he will be co-driving with Patrick Long, who coincidentally drove to the most recent pole position by a Porsche 911 GT3 R before this weekend at Road America in 2018.
With the new starting grid, the No. 57 Heinricher Racing w/ Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 of Christina Nielsen and Katherine Legge will start on the outside of the front row following Nielsen’s qualifying time of 1:30.126. Meyer Shank’s second entry, the No. 86 Acura of Trent Hindman and Mario Farnbacher will start third.
The pair of AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3’s will follow suit with the No. 14 of Richard Heistand and Jack Hawksworth – the most recent round winners at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course four weeks ago – in fourth and the No. 12 of Frankie Montecalvo and Townsend Bell in fifth.