From drop of the green the front row qualifying No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac team had a tough start to the six-hour race. Felipe Nasr was coming down the hill through the last turn as the race went green. As he was at the apex taking the start when the No. 6 Acura spun beside him. Upon review by the IMSA Officials Nasr was given a drive through penalty for incident responsibility. With strong stints from Pipo (Filipe) Derani and Filipe Albuquerque the three “Fe(i)lipes” made their way back to the top three in DPi, only to get a second penalty for responsibility later in the afternoon with Derani at the wheel. Despite serving two drive through penalties the team, through strong pit work and strategy finished the day third.
“I think this is one of those races where you couldn’t predict what was going to happen,” Derani said. “Luckily for us, we managed to get a podium at the end. We’re a little disappointed because we thought we had a car that could win. But, I’ll take a third after two drive throughs. The team did a fantastic job. They kept us in the game late in the race.”
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac team once again proved that steady quick lap times and staying out of trouble results in a good finish. The trio of Sebastien Bourdais, Joao Barbosa and Tristan Vautier finished the day in fourth. Their race was not without some drama, with just 15-minutes to go Vautier had to avoid a GTD car in the fast Esses almost coming to a complete stop on the track.
“We had a good day in the Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R,” Vautier said. “Sebastien and Joao drove fast all race and I put in some strong stints as well. We weren’t the fastest car, but we kept to our strategy and the JDC-Miller guys had great pit stops and good strategy all day. It was crazy out there at the end, but I was glad to be able to bring the car home in fourth.”
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R was poised for a podium finish until with just 30-minutes to go Ryan Briscoe entered pit road for his last stop right behind the No. 6 Acura. The Acura had to get on the brakes hard to slow the car down to pit lane speed and Briscoe hit the back of him. The IMSA Officials gave the Konica Minolta Cadillac team a penalty thus ending their podium run and taking the checker in fifth. A tough finish for the Wayne Taylor led team as they led the race most of the afternoon.
“Awesome race,” Briscoe said. “I had a lot of fun out there. It was a really good car. Just a really disappointing finish getting the penalty at the end for contact in the pit lane with Montoya. It’s been a big discussion. He said he had a problem in his car, and he hit the brakes inside the pit lane. We hit him, but we got a penalty for it. It’s a real shame because it ruined our chances for a podium or the win. Disappointing finish, but I’m really proud of the guys. It was hot and grueling and Renger did a great job, overall I’m really happy with the performance of the team.”
The No. 85 JDC-Miller Cadillac DPi-V.R was started by Matheus Leist. Unfortanelty, he was caught up in the incident at the start of the race and went back to the garage and was retired.
Cadillac IMSA TireRack.com Grand Prix Finishing Order:
3. No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani, and Filipe Albuquerque, 1:08.730
4. No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, Joao Barbosa, Sebastian Bourdais and Tristan Vautier, 1:09.067
5. No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, Renger Van Der Zande and Ryan Briscoe, 1:09.079
8. No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R, Stephen Simpson and Matheus Leist, 1:09.683
The IMSA WeatherTech Championship will return to compe
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing/Photo. Brian Cleary