Tequila Patrón ESM celebrated a breakthrough performance Sunday afternoon at Road America, earning the first Nissan DPi win of the 2017 season, while also netting a third place finish. The No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi clinched the win, the team’s seventh under the IMSA sanctioning body. The No. 2 Nissan Onroak DPi produced a well fought third place finish at the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship’s Road Race Showcase..
In recent weeks, the focus of the new development program focused on reliability, already showing competitive speeds all season long. In the Road Race Showcase race weekend, Road America weather threw its own curve balls, offering varying conditions for every session leading up to the race. The lack of continuity in conditions minimized the team’s ability to do extended testing with the same set up, but the engineers and crew at Tequila Patrón ESM worked diligently to produce a strong package for both Nissan Onroak DPis.
Scott Sharp produced a strong qualifying session, setting a fast lap to start third in the No. 2 car. Johannes van Overbeek qualified the No. 22 to start fifth. The pair of cars showed competitive speeds at the drop of the green flag, with Sharp immediately fighting the 52 Ligier for second position, and van Overbeek taking fourth place in the opening corners. Despite a hot, slick track, the two maintained position. As the No. Cadillac pulled away from the field, van Overbeek passed Sharp for third, gaining ground to fight the 52 for position. In the heat of the battle, the 52 went wide, allowing van Overbeek and Sharp to pass and climb to second and third position.
Both cars came in for their first pit stops with 37 minutes of racing complete. Taking on tires and fuel, van Overbeek and Sharp were the first in the prototype field to pit. The duo shuffled to third and fourth once all the pit stops were complete, with one hour and 54 minutes to go. The No. 22 of van Overbeek began to conserve fuel, allowing Sharp to get by and battle with Eric Curran in the 31 for second place. The No. 2 came in for its second stop from third place, again taking tires and fuel. Scott Sharp handed the car over to Ryan Dalziel, and shortly after, the No. 22 followed suit, trading out van Overbeek from fourth place for Pipo Derani. The pair again settled in third and fifth, with the 85 Oreca of Brian Simpson wedged between the two.
Both cars continued to conserve fuel, and with one hour remaining in the race, Dalziel made the pass for second place, with the No. 10 Cadillac 7.7 ahead. In the span of two laps, Dalziel cut that gap by over a second, slowly reeling in the race leader. An incident brought out a full course caution shortly after, giving the duo the opportunity to pit for fuel and tires for a final stint. The race leader stayed out, and Derani and Dalziel rejoined in third and fourth, respectively, behind the No. 10. With 39 minutes to go, the field went back to green. Derani made a darning move on the outside of the No. 10 car in turn one, taking the second place position.
With 30 minutes remaining, Derani raced wisely yet competitively with the race leading 85 car, knowing the Oreca still had to pit for fuel before the checker flag. Twenty minutes from the checker flag, the 85 made their stop, bringing Derani to the lead, with Dalziel in third, right on the tail of the No. 10 Cadillac. Derani kept the lead and pulled away from the field, winning by 2.356 seconds. The win marks van Overbeek’s 13th win in the series, and Derani’s third. Dalziel brought it across the finish line in third, completing the team’s double podium weekend.
Johannes van Overbeek | No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi | Finished P1
I couldn’t be happier for Tequila Patrón ESM. This one is for Ed. We miss him not being here. The whole team did a great job from the tire changers, strategy, Pipo Derani, everything went flawlessly. Hopefully this is a precursor of things to come.
Pipo Derani | No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi | Finished P1
What an amazing day to be able to win our first race this year after getting started so late. I thought that the Cadillacs were going to dominate all season, so this shows that all of our hard work has been paying off. It’s amazing for the whole team, for Patrón, and Ed. We never stopped believing. And now we have to spray some champagne and enjoy some Tequila Patrón tonight.
Scott Sharp | No. 2 Nissan Onroak DPi | Finished P1
It was an awesome day for this team. We needed this so bad. So much effort has gone into this program. It has truly been a team effort all around: All the testing combined with NISMO and Onroak pushing on their ends. There are only three races to go, so we were getting a little nervous. I felt like this would be a good track for us. It suits our car, and to come out with two podiums, and obviously the win, is amazing.
Ryan Dalziel | No. 2 Nissan Onroak DPi | Finished P1
It was a great day for the team, which was definitely needed. A lot of work has been put into this program, between NISMO and ESM in the past couple races. We showed at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park that we had the pace, the car just didn’t go our way. It is nice to have both cars on the podium. It would have been nicer to have a 1-2 finish, but we still have work to do, and we’ll come back for the next one.
Source. KBru Communications