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DERANI: A Good Points Day in Mid-Ohio

Pipo Derani files his latest Sportscar365 column following last weekend’s race at Mid-Ohio…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Mid-Ohio was a good weekend in general even though it started off with tough conditions with plenty of rain on the Friday.

We were not that keen on running because the track is so low grip anyway and we knew that the long range forecast was telling us that it would improve and that it would generally be a dry weekend.

The decision was taken that I would qualify and start the race. We ended up being the best placed Cadillac, which was good and fourth position on the grid was reasonable considering that the Acura and Mazda’s seemed to have an advantage pretty much everywhere.

We actually knew that it could be difficult for us on pace compared to others. They showed last year that they have a few good secrets about the Mid-Ohio track and they obviously use these to their advantage.

Qualifying was tricky, especially after Castroneves hit me up the back on the out lap which was a bit bizarre. It caused some damage on the rear which obviously is not an ideal way to go for your qualifying lap.

Still, everyone on the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R car was pushing to maximize everything we could and get in the best possible position so we could carry forward all the positivity from the start of the 2019 season.

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

We managed to do this and bring some great points back with fourth place after a clean run to the flag.

I started the race well and immediately was able to fight hard for third and get through, but we just didn’t quite have enough to make a permanent fight with the Mazda’s and Acura’s.

Felipe also tried mighty hard and was at one stage in contention for claiming a podium position but a late penalty for overtaking under yellow flags saw that possibility fade.

Points-wise we extended our lead to four points which was quite satisfying because we know some tracks coming up will suit us more and we will be able to fight for more wins and podiums.

Sometimes you really have to look at the long game and come the end of the season a fourth place finish and the points gained from it could be absolutely crucial.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in Miami these past few years and it’s a great as a base as it is good weather, nice places to visit and is a great multi-cultural city.

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Training hard is part and parcel of the modern race driver I guess and I do hundreds of miles on my bike. Cycling is a great way to stay focused, fit and sharp, and it is also minimal impact on the body and maximum aerobic exercise so it works well for professional race drivers.

This week I’m heading over to Europe for the first time in a while and will go and check out and see some friends at the Monaco EPrix this weekend which will be nice.

But the main reason will be to get some crucial preparation in place for Le Mans which I will be competing in for Risi Competizione with a Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.

There is plenty to do and keep busy with but obviously my full race focus will be for Belle Isle, Detroit at the beginning of June.

Detroit is a track I enjoy and last season I was able to get pole position there. The race wasn’t so positive but in terms of the way you can attack that circuit then I am confident that Felipe and I will be very strong with the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R.

I’ll check back in to Sportscar365 next month when I hope to tell you all about another positive event.

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Pipo Derani (@PipoDerani) is the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona winner and two-time Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring winner, driving for Whelen Engineering Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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