Nissan Scores Breakthrough DPi Win with Tequila Patron ESM at Road America
In Sunday's two-hour, 40-minute Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America, Brazilian driver Pipo Derani and teammate Johannes van Overbeek broke a seven-race win streak for Cadillac, co-driving their No. 22 Tequila Patrón Nissan to victory. Derani took the lead when Stephen Simpson pitted the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA LM P2 car with 25 minutes remaining and held off Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R to by win by 2.356 seconds.
However, with Simpson and the JDC-Miller team on a different fuel strategy than the rest of the Prototype class, Derani's winning move actually came on a restart with just under 40 minutes remaining. At that time, Derani got a good run heading into Turn 1 and overpowered Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 machine to take over second place.
"I knew on the restart that it was my only chance to overtake the (No.) 10," Derani said. "They said it would be difficult because the track is high-downforce and you lose that when you get really close to a guy.
"I used the slipstream, though, to pass him. Outside on Turn 1 was the only place to go. I knew he'd play it safe because they are going for the championship. I'm glad it worked out, because the team was working so hard. This win means a lot to me."
It was Derani's third WeatherTech Championship race win and first since he teamed with van Overbeek, Scott Sharp and Ed Brown to win the 2016 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida. It was van Overbeek's fourth WeatherTech Championship win and 13th in IMSA competition - encompassing the WeatherTech Championship, American Le Mans Series and GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series - as well as the seventh IMSA and fourth WeatherTech Championship wins for Tequila Patrón ESM.
The Taylor brothers wound up second for their sixth podium result of the season and first since winning five consecutive races to open the season. Ricky Taylor started from the pole position and combined with his younger brother to lead the first hour and 45 minutes before the final round of pit stops.
"Ricky had a strong stint to begin with," said Jordan Taylor. "We knew we had a good car and could control from the front, but with the changes coming over the year, the restarts would be our downfall coming down to Turn 1.
"I didn't want to take a ton of risk for it. There was no point in taking the risk, those extra three points or seven on other cars. It was good to get in a rhythm after Watkins Glen and Mosport. So we'll take the points and head on to [the next race at Mazda Raceway] Laguna [Seca, in September]."
Tequila Patrón ESM finished with two Nissan DPis on the podium, as co-drivers Ryan Dalziel and Scott Sharp finished third in the No. 2 machine. Dane Cameron and Eric Curran - who won both of the past two WeatherTech Championship races at Road America - finished fourth in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, with Renger van der Zande and Marc Goossens fifth in the No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Racing Ligier LM P2 prototype.
Simpson made an emergency pit stop for fuel during the final full-course caution of the race to lose the lead then dropped further back when he had to stop again once the green flag dropped, leaving him and co-driver Misha Goikhberg eighth in the final race results in the No. 85 machine. They finished second in each of the last two races.
The next race for the WeatherTech Championship Prototype class is the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California on Sunday, Sept. 24.
Complete race results are available at Results.IMSA.com.
French Scores Emotional Hometown Win in Prototype Challenge with O'Ward and Performance Tech
James French and Patricio "Pato" O'Ward maintained their perfect record in the 2017 WeatherTech Championship Prototype Challenge (PC) class with their seventh victory of the season in the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, but this one meant a little bit more to French.
The driver hails from nearby Sheboygan, Wisconsin and made his sixth PC start at Road America. It wasn't until today, however, that French stood atop the podium as a race winner. French and O'Ward made it look relatively easy on Sunday, as they combined to lead every lap in the race en route to the win.
"It feels pretty excellent to be honest," French said. "This is my sixth time in this car here and no victories up to this point. Now it's great to finally check it off the bucket. Pato did a great stint under the green. We got caught off guard by the yellow, but were able to stay out front.
"The team did a good job of keeping us calm and keeping the car on the right track. It was overall a great day. The car was so fast, and we kept improving over the day. At the end, we got a win on the list and now we get to go on to Petit [Le Mans, the season finale]."
Mark Kvamme and Gustavo Yacaman finished second in the No. 26 BAR1 Motorsports ORECA FLM09, with teammates Don Yount and Buddy Rice third in the No. 20 BAR1 Motorsports ORECA.
The PC class wraps up its WeatherTech Championship run in its next race, the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia on Saturday, Oct. 7.
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