The Whelen Engineering Cadillac of Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr finished second in today’s running of the IMSA WeatherTech Championship Acura Sportscar Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course. The Konica Minolta Cadillac came home third.
In qualifying at 8:30 a.m. ET this morning, Pipo Derani was the fastest Cadillac driver posting a lap time of 1:11.067 that had him starting fourth in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R from the second row. At the start Derani took advantage of the Cadillac’s power to move into second in the first corner of the race.
The pole-sitting Acura led early, until a mistake by Juan Pablo Montoya in traffic in Turn 5 sent him off which allowed Derani to take the lead an hour-and-a-half into the race. As the race progressed through four cautions, Nasr took over and through pit stops and the speed of the Acura dropped back to second. As he battled with the Acura in the closing moments of the race, the lighter Japanese model was too quick around the 2.4-mile, 15-turn track and took the win.
“I think that everyone on the entire No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac team did a fantastic job today,” Derani said. “I started the race fourth. With a very nice move, I immediately moved up to second. A little bit later, I moved up to first when [Juan Pablo] Montoya made a mistake. Unfortunately, we lost the lead on the pit stop. But nevertheless, the team did a fantastic job. We managed to take some points away from the Championship leaders. We’re now just three points away. It’s the fourth podium in a row for the Whelen Engineering Cadillac, which is very positive. I think we did the best we could’ve today. Felipe did a fantastic job at the end, pushing the No. 7 to its maximum. But, we came up just short of the victory. We’re looking forward to the next one.”
Ryan Briscoe started the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R from fifth on the grid. The story for the 10 was the closing minutes when Renger Van Der Zande had to hold off the Acura of Montoya for the third place. With 10 minutes remaining Montoya moved past Van Der Zande with some contact to take the position but later spun out giving the Wayne Taylor led team the last step on the podium.
“Today felt like the race of my life,” Van Der Zande said. “Third place in the end felt like the maximum result here. At the beginning we were losing out in the positions a little bit and we were P5. We got out in front after other cars made mistakes. After I got in, it was survival mode. We improved the car a lot from last year, but there is still some more to come. We’re still leading the championship and made some good points.”
Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais started the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R from seventh on the DPi grid. The duo was able to move up a position at the checker and take sixth for the JDC-Miller Motorsports group.
“It was a bit of a tough ending for us,” Bourdais said. “We had to make something happen to get into contention. We looked like we were headed that way. The car came to life after playing with the TC [tracktion control] and bars and after a while I found something that seemed to better our lap time in the Mustang Sampling Cadillac. I was supposed to be doing a quick third run to get some gap before turning over to Joao. Then the yellow came out and it ruined our strategy. We had a slow pit stop and we lost some track position. So, a little disappointing. We tried hard as a team, but not be this weekend. We will keep digging for Road Atlanta.”
Newcomer Gabriel Aubry and teammate Tristan Vautier were running strong in Aubry’s first run in the MEP JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R. With 30-minutes remaining Vautier pulled the newly wrapped white Cadillac DPi-V.R off at the exit of Turn 1 retiring the car with loss of drive. The team was classified eighth at the finish.
Cadillac IMSA Mid-Ohio Finishing Order:
2. No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais
3. No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, Renger Van Der Zande and Ryan Briscoe
6. No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani
8. No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R, Tristan Vautier and Gabriel Aubry
The IMSA Championship will travel to Charlotte Motor Speedway to run on the roval for GT and GTLM cars only, October 10. Next up for the full field of IMSA cars will be the traditional Motul Petit Le Mans to run at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, October 15-17.
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing/Photo. Richard Prince/Cadillac