Cadillac Road America Finishing Order:
2. No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, Ryan Briscoe, Renger Van Der Zande
3. No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani
4. No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, Joao Barbosa, Sebastien Bourdais
7. No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R, Chris Miller, Tristan Vautier
The 2 hour and 40-minute race started under near perfect conditions of 75 degrees and overcast skies. In the dry the Mazda and Acura cars had the measure of the DPi field, crowding the top four positions on the scoring sheet. However, with 55 minutes remaining rain began to fall on some sections of the track. The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R with Pipo Derani at the wheel went off circuit in Turn 3. The No. 10 Cadillac pitted and took rain tires. Three minutes later the race went full course yellow. With 41 minutes remaining the race was stopped.
At the stoppage the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R was on rain tires scored in second place. As the clock counted down to 25-minutes remaining, the Corvette Pace Car took to the track to resume the race under yellow. At the drop of the green just over 7-minutes to go, Renger Van Der Zande took the lead when the leading 77 Mazda pitted. On the same lap he went wide at turn 14 and the No. 7 Acura passed for the win.
“We had a fantastic result,” Van Der Zande said. “Compared to the Mazda and Acura cars we were not competitive this weekend in the dry conditions, so we needed rain to do better than a fifth-place finish. It was super tricky out there, the car became a boat a few times and I had some big moments. This team has done a fantastic job. We were doing well and were staying in front of the other Cadillac cars, but then I saw some rain drops on the windscreen and I told the team to put rain tires on the car even though the track was completely dry. Sometimes you dream about these strategy calls where you put rain tires on the car and then it becomes wet, but it happened. And we were suddenly leading after the red flag. We can be very happy with leading the championship and coming out with a second-place finish!”
The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac team had a tumultuous last quarter of the race. Derani went off in Turn 3 damaging the front nose of the red Cadillac. Once the race was restarted, he pitted, the team swapped the nose out and he returned to the track. Making the most of the wet conditions he was able to drive up to the last podium spot for he and teammate Felipe Nasr.
“It was a tough weekend for us,” Derani said. “We started from the back. Felipe had a small mistake in qualifying. We had a tough day and the rain did not make our lives easier. Unfortunately for me, when I got in the car, I was really close to car 10. We were trying to undercut them in the pit. So, I pitted one lap before him. I was really pushing a lot. At that point, the rain came, and I lost my braking and hit the wall. Of course, that changed the whole situation.
“But having said that, with the red flag, we had the chance to put a new nose on the car and be back in the game – even if we lost a few positions. We were able to restart the race with a new nose and try [to win] from there. At that point, my mindset was to try to get the best possible result for the team. I have to say I’m really glad we managed to be on the podium. I wish we could have finished a little further ahead. Sometimes you’ve got to take a good result like this considering how tough the weekend was for us and move on. We scored some good points for the championship. The team did a fantastic job, especially for putting us back in contention on the last restart. Like I said, it was about trying to get the best possible result for us. At that time [the restart], the crash was already deleted from my mind and I was thinking about a new restart. I’m glad it all came out well. The Whelen Engineering/Action Express Cadillac car was good today. I want to say thank you to all of my sponsors Whelen, Cadillac, Lucas Oil, and the Action Express team.”
Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais were able to soldier on through the tumult of the race today and finish fourth. The duo was just short of putting the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R on the podium for the fourth consecutive race.
“This team has been able to make the most of every opportunity this year,” Bourdais said. “We haven’t had the fastest car, but we are there when it matters at the end. When I got in the car the weather came. It was really pouring there before it went yellow and then they stopped the race. I was able to move up and get valuable points on the day. We ended our podium streak, but fourth is not a bad result for today in the crazy weather.”
Tristan Vautier took over from Chris Miller in the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R to run the rainy last portion of the race. He had an off in Turn 3, managed to keep the yellow Cadillac out of the sand and wall to rejoin the race and finish seventh on the day.
“It was a tough day,” Vautier said. “Chris had a pretty start and when I took over the rain came. I had a little off in Turn 3 but was able to keep going. We pitted and took the rain tires and the JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac was pretty good. Then we lost our communication with the team during that rainstorm so that was tough just when the race was getting crazy. We brought the car home, so we made the most it today.”
The IMSA WeatherTech Championship will travel to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, August 21-23. The Road Atlanta event is the COVID replacement for the Watkins Glen Six hours.
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac/Photo. Richard Prince/Cadillac