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Whelen Engineering drivers Pipo Derani (Brazil) and Tristan Nunez (Boynton Beach, Fla.) finished third in Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Lexus Grand Prix at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Nunez started today’s race from the third row, after turning the fifth fastest qualifying lap of 1:11.053 in Saturday’s qualifying. At the drop of the green flag, Nunez got a clean start in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R and was immediately locked in a tight battle with the No. 5 Cadillac for position throughout his stint.

On lap 20, the No. 13 LMP3 car was stopped on track. As a result, the team thought this might bring out the race’s full course caution and had Nunez immediately dive into pit lane for tires and fuel. This is when Derani got in.

Derani started what would be a triple stint in sixth place and passed the No. 5 Cadillac for fifth just four laps later. Throughout that first stint, he moved up one more spot to fourth before coming to pit lane on lap 57, just as the yellow came out for the No. 38 LMP3 car.

On lap 65, the DPi leaders were bunched up and ready for the restart. The green dropped and the battle for the race lead ensued. The No. 10 and No. 01 cars made contact and the No. 01 slid off course. This allowed Derani to inherit third place. Seven laps later, Derani passed the No. 60 for second coming out of Turn One going down the long straight before Turn Two.

Derani would hold this position for 13 more laps before heading to the pits for the team’s final pit stop on lap 86. Unfortunately, the No. 60 made its pit stop just a few laps before the No. 31 and this helped the No. 60 undercut the No. 31 on pit stop strategy – meaning the No. 60 was now second, while the No. 31 dropped to third. From there, Derani did what he could to regain second place, but simply ran out of time.

“We have to be proud,” Derani said. “The 31 Whelen Engineering team did a fantastic job this weekend. I think we got the maximum we could out of the car, and we delivered. Unfortunately, not quite there, but I think we have to be proud of our job finishing as the best Cadillac. The team was flawless all weekend and we’ll take another podium.”

Pipo had an amazing run up to the front,” Nunez said. “The Action Express pit crew was really on it today. I am really looking forward to getting to the upcoming Detroit race. Hopefully, we can carry this momentum to the top step of the podium at Belle Isle.”

At the halfway point in the season, the team has three podiums and five top-five finishes. Derani and Nunez are fifth in the DPi Driver’s Points Standings with 1,575 points, 132 points behind the DPi leaders.

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship returns to the track in three weeks for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear June 3-4 at the Raceway at Belle Isle.

Source. Kyle Chura Associates/Photo. Brian Cleary


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