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The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship made its return to racing today with the running of the WeatherTech 240 at Daytona International Speedway.

In the 15-minute qualifying session this afternoon Ryan Briscoe had the wheel of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R and posted a lap time of 1:35.061 that had him start from the third row in fifth. He was the fastest of the four Cadillac entrants.

The start of the race was delayed by 40-minutes due to lightening and rain in the area. Gabby Chaves, filling in for Felipe Nasr, took the start in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R choosing to start on slicks, along with the No. 10 Konica-Minolta Cadillac of Briscoe, while the rest of the DPi field started on Michelin rain tires. As the track started to dry and the DPi cars that took the green flag on rains began to pit Chaves drove into the lead. As the race progressed the speed of the two Mazda cars, finishing one and two, would not be challenged.

Following a tough qualifying effort, starting the race from seventh, Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais took what the track and competition gave them this evening bringing the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R to the checker in third place. The duo ran a fault free race to take the last step on the DPi class podium.

“We chose to start the race on rain tires,” Bourdais said. “Some of the teams started on slicks. It turned out the strategy played into our hands and we were able to have a pretty good run and finish on the podium in our first race back. Joao did the tough part today in the wet early. When I got in the Mustang Sampling Cadillac it was dry. The race went green the whole way and we really didn’t have the speed to compete with the Mazda cars today. We will look forward to Sebring.”

Gabby Chaves and Pipo Derani drove the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R to fifth place. The duo led the first one-third of the race and proved that starting on slicks was the right move at the start.

“It was a pretty good day,” Derani said. “In the end it was all about a different strategy for the Whelen Engineering team. We started the race on slicks. From those cars we came out ahead of everyone. The No. 10 was on the same strategy and they finished behind us. We thought it was looking good for the end doing a three stop race instead of four. But we had to try and save too much fuel in the middle stint and it didn’t work out. It is good to be back with the team. It was too bad that Felipe wasn’t with us, we hope he will be back at Sebring. Gabby did a great job. We got some points today and will go onto Sebring in two weeks.”

The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac team had a tough start to the weekend losing valuable track time with a flat tire in practice today and having to be towed to the garage. Ryan Briscoe took the green flag from his fifth place starting position on slick tires. Handing off to Renger Van Der Zande he was able to bring home the Wayne Taylor run car in sixth place.

“It was an interesting race,” Briscoe said. “We started in wet conditions and took the choice to start on slicks which was really tricky at the beginning of the race. In the short term it was the right decision. But, ultimately with the way the fuel windows worked it put us in a difficult place. We committed to a three-stop strategy where we had to fuel save and run on older tires. It turned out to be an uneventful race at the end where we were just saving fuel. Hopefully at Sebring we can be in full attack mode and push hard for passes. It was really fun to be at the track and to be racing, so you can’t complain about that. The race just didn’t go our way today, but we’ll move on and keep pushing.”

The No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsport Cadillac DPi-V.R was started by Chris Miller on rain tires. With the drying track he was also forced to pit lane in the early going. Handing off to Tristan Vautier who proceeded to run lap times competitive with the DPi leaders finishing seventh.

“It was overall a positive weekend for us as a team as the 5 car was on the podium,” Vautier said. “We made some improvements on the car during the break. It seems like it has paid off. We had a tough beginning of the race. We are happy with our overall speed. Chris and I get along really well. Chris did a good job, he got blocked in qualifying on his fast lap so that was tough. He drove a good stint. We are happy with the steps we have made in pure speed since the 24. The JDC-Miller team did a good job all race. We now go onto Sebring.”

Cadillac Daytona Finishing Order:

3. No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, Joao Barbosa and Sebastian Bourdais
5. No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani
6. No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, Renger Van Der Zande and Ryan Briscoe
7. No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R, Tristan Vautier and Chris Miller
The series will stay in Florida for the next round in two weeks with the running of the Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring, July 17-18.

Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing/Photo. Richard Prince/Cadillac


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