Strong strategy, fast pit stops, and commanding passes from the Tequila Patrón ESM squad earned the team a second place finish Saturday afternoon at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s BUBBA burger SportsCar Grand Prix at Long Beach. Scott Sharp and Ryan Dalziel piloted the Nissan Onroak DPi to a second place finish, earning the No. 2 car’s first podium of the 2018 season.
After a difficult qualifying session, the No. 2 car started in eighth position with Scott Sharp taking the green flag. The field quickly spread out, and Sharp maintained position for his 40 minute stint, keeping the car in a competitive position for the final stint of the sprint race. He pitted under caution from eighth for a full service stop. The Tequila Patrón ESM crew put fresh tires on the car, and topped off the fuel, and Ryan Dalziel took over the machine, leaving pit lane fourth in line. Pit stops cycled through, and Dalziel and the No. 2 charged forward with 45 minutes remaining. One more stop for a splash of fuel was needed to make it to the end of the race, so the team called Dalziel in on lap 37 with the leaders. He rejoined behind Ricky Taylor’s No. 7 Acura, working at every turn to set up a pass to take second position. His opportunity came with 22 minutes remaining when debris on track brought out a full course caution. The Tequila Patrón ESM Nissan took advantage of the Penske Racing Acura at the exit of the hairpin on the restart, allowing Dalziel to pass on the inside, and charge towards the leader. The Nissan had the speed to race competitively against the race leading Cadillac, but the race clock ran out. With the second place, Tequila Patrón ESM earned the second podium in the season’s three races, earning valuable points in the Prototype team standings.
After starting ninth, the No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi fell victim to an incredibly random stroke of bad luck, when debris from another car struck the machine. The piece of debris hit an external button on the car that the FIA requires in case a car is stalled on course and needs to be shifted into neutral by a corner marshal. Once hit, the car went neutral, initially causing the team to diagnose the issue as transmission related, but it was only once the car made it back to the garage that the source of the problem was discovered. Sadly, the piece of debris costs the Twelve Hours of Sebring winners Johannes van Overbeek and Pipo Derani the race, retiring the No. 22 early. The duo will have a chance at redemption next month at Mid-Ohio SportsCar Course for the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Showdown, May 4-6. The two hour and 40 minute race will be the second of three consecutive sprint races on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar. For more information, visit imsa.com.
No. 2 Nissan Onroak DPi
We’re sitting better than where I thought we’d be after yesterday’s qualifying. We made some godo changes to the car, and it was much better today. We had a great pit stop. Ryan made some good moves. He was mart in his driving and had a great restart. I even thought for a second we should have something for the race leader. It ended up being a strong race weekend. I feel bad for the No. 22 guys. It would have been great to have them on the podium with us. We keep together as a team to get these good results, and that’s what we need to do.
Second place two years in a row! It was a bit tougher this year than last year, but we had a great car, and an unbelievabley good pit stop. The guys nailed it, and we gained a bunch of places. It was such a great race car. I made a small mistake, which so many of us did with all the marbles out there. Second place was a good day. It was a rough one for the No. 22 car, so we’ll take it.
No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi
Johannes van Overbeek
Not the best birthday I’ve ever had. It was a shame we lost drive in the No. 22 car, and we also had an uncharacteristic slip up in the pits. It just wasn’t our day. The No. 2 car ran well, and I’m proud they were able to carry the flag for the team in Long Beach.
Unfortunately a piece of debris hit our car, and hit the neutral button that is FIA mandated for the marshals to use in case of an emergency. The debris hit that exact spot, putting our car in neutral, and I couldn’t restart the car. We weren’t sure of the source of the problem at the time, unfortunately those things can happen. We’re glad there was no real problem on the car. I feel sad for the team after all their hard work this weekend, as usual. We’re looking forward to a strong result for the next one, and trying to get a strong result. Congratulations to the No. 2 car for a strong finish. Coming from eighth to second was a very strong race.
Source. KBru Communications