The Brazilian lapped the 2.54-mile Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in 70.347sec, just quick enough to beat fellow Cadillac DPi-V.R driver, Wayne Taylor Racing’s Renger van der Zande.
The two Acura Team Penske cars were next up, Dane Cameron a hair quicker than Ricky Taylor, while Harry Tincknell was fifth – yet within 0.13sec of pacesetter Derani.
The 90min session was interrupted twice by red flags, one for Chris Miller in the #85 JDC-Miller Cadillac who spun and lost his rear wing, and an earlier one for a gravel-trap excursion by the Inter Europol Competition LMP2 Oreca.
LMP2 was led by Mikkel Jensen in the Tower Motorsports by Starworks car, who was around 0.3sec than Performance Tech Motorsports’ pacesetter Colin Braun.
The Porsche 911 RSRs sat 1-2 by the end of the session, Laurens Vanthoor a quarter-second faster than Frederic Makowiecki.
Nicky Catsburg was one of the ‘extra’ enduro drivers who excelled in the session, setting third fastest time in the Corvette C8.R he’ll be sharing with Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor.
Jack Hawksworth set fastest time in GT Daytona, his AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F lapping mere hundreths quicker than the impressive Jan Heylen in the Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Markus Winkelhock made an impressive return to IMSA with third fastest in the Hardpoint Audi R8, just ahead of Alessandro Balzan’s Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488.
Qualifying commences at 12.30pm ET on Friday, while the race starts at 12.40pm ET on Saturday.