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Derani “Couldn’t Be Happier” With Record-Matching Win

Pipo Derani matches a record set by Phil Hill in winning Sebring three times in four years…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Pipo Derani matched a record set more than 55 years ago by scoring his third Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring win in four years on Saturday.

The Brazilian’s win, his first with Action Express Racing, comes after similar successes in the 2016 and 2018 runnings of the race, both while driving for Tequila Patron ESM.

It matches the record set by Phil Hill, who won Sebring in 1958, 1959 and 1961, driving Ferrari 250TRs.

“I think I’m the first guy since [1961] to win it three times in four years and wow, that’s impressive,” he told Sportscar365.

“I’m a lucky guy and the guy up there, God, has been looking for me and is giving me the opportunity to be involved and working with an amazing group of people, and I can’t thank Him enough.

“I couldn’t be any happier, I’m out of words to be honest. Today was just one of those days, a perfect day.”

Derani said it felt very different not driving the Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R for the final stint, unlike the other two occasions when he drove his ESM cars to the line.

“It definitely was [strange] but today was a different story with me starting the race and having to stay for so long,” he said.

“I think I drove two and a half hours in the beginning and another almost two and a half, so I think I ended up driving six hours in the race so at the end I was completely drained.

“Nothing [is] better than having a teammate like Felipe [Nasr] who’s up there, super quick and reliable. I trust him as he trusts me and here we are, we won.

“[It was] a different perspective, definitely but I got to scream a lot with the other guys when we finished. I’m out of voice right now! That was a different experience but a really nice one as well.”

Derani said he overcame a radio issue with his helmet, in what turned out to be the only drama in the race, which saw a dominant run by the team.

“I don’t know if one of the cables got stuck or something but I just couldn’t listen so I had to drive there looking at the fuel and making sure that I came to the pits at the right time,” he said.

“That’s why we do good pre-race meetings and that’s why we go through everything because if it wasn’t for that, for the team to prepare myself, to know exactly what I had to do in case something happened, maybe we wouldn’t be here today.”

Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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