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Derani: “All We Can Do is Win” to Boost Championship Hopes

Pipo Derani in a must-win scenario to have any hopes of DPi championship…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Pipo Derani says the focus of this weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is to score the win, noting that the championship is largely out of his hands going into the final IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race of the season.

The three-time Twelve Hours of Sebring winner enters the weekend third in points, nine markers behind the leading Acura Team Penske duo of Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves and seven behind second place Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande of Wayne Taylor Racing.

While Derani said Action Express Racing’s focus is always on winning races, he said that rings especially true this weekend with a significant deficit to overcome.

“That is always the way that we go racing,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re in the points lead or not, we always try and go for the win.

“Of course a little bit more now that we know that all we can do is win. If we don’t win, it changes nothing for us.

“Action Express expects to win no matter what and that’s how we’re going to go racing again in Sebring, maybe even a little bit more aggressive this time around because all we can do is try to take another Sebring win home which would be fantastic no matter where we finish in the championship.”

Taylor and Castroneves were the benefactors of Team Penske’s two car operation working to support their championship bid in the last round at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca when their sister car allowed them to move into the lead in the final laps.

Derani said he harbors no ill-will stemming from the move, adding his lone regret was not being able to put more pressure on the Acura pair to make that maneuver more difficult to pull off.

“I’ve been asked before if a one-car team is better than two,” he said. “I think there’s a plus and minus for both of them.

“The plus of being a one car team is all of the focus is on yourself, but on the other hand as we saw last weekend, that’s the plus for having a two car team.

“It is was it is. They did what they had to do thinking about the championship and I don’t blame them. It’s just a shame that it was so easy for them to do it. They had plenty of opportunities to do it during the race.

“I wish we had a little bit more to at least make it a little more difficult for them to do that, but we didn’t. That’s very unfortunate but it is what it is, and that’s the benefit of having a two car team.”

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is a pit reporter for SRO America's TV coverage as well as for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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