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MSR’s Pace Dropped Off “Quite a Bit” After Derani Contact

Acura fall out of podium contention after on-track, pit lane incidents in Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

The pace of Meyer Shank Racing’s Acura ARX-05 dropped off “quite a bit” following contact with the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Pipo Derani with less than three hours to go according to Tom Blomqvist.

The Rolex 24 at Daytona-winning squad was forced to settle for a fifth place finish in Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring after initially being in podium contention.

However, that became unraveled with 2 hours and 34 minutes to go when Stoffel Vandoorne — making a one-off appearance in MSR’s Acura DPi as a sub for Helio Castroneves — came together with the No. 31 AXR Cadillac of Pipo Derani in Turn 16 while battling for fourth.

Derani was given incident responsibility for the contact, which saw the Brazilian spin and receive a warning from race control.

According to Blomqvist, who took the car to a fifth place finish, damage to the floor compromised the car’s performance in the final two hours.

“It was a tough day,” he said. “The weekend didn’t run too smoothly for us and I think ultimately it cost us in the race.

“It was a long day out there, but the boys ran a fantastic race, we really didn’t have any issues and we ran a very good race strategically.

“Ultimately we just didn’t have the pace. And then with a few hours to go we had damage to the car and the pace dropped off quite a bit and we weren’t really able to find any more which was a bit of a shame.

“It was a typical Sebring 12 hour, super tough, super hot. We just need to try and improve the car for the next time out.”

Derani and co-drivers Tristan Nunez and Mike Conway, meanwhile, finished third, helping give Cadillac a sweep of the podium.

“It was a tough day at the office, but it was a good points day,” Derani said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t win. We didn’t get a yellow at the end so we could try to catch the front runners.”

“Impossible to Believe” Mistake for Stevens Dashes Podium Hope for WTR

Fellow Acura DPi squad Wayne Taylor Racing was left disappointed by missing out on a podium finish, and potential victory, due to a drive-through penalty for Will Stevens, who missed Michelin’s RFID reader at pit-out during his stint.

The penalty dropped the No. 10 Acura DPi to the tail end of the lead lap, with the final five hours running caution-free and the team unable to recover the lost ground.

“Today we had ups and downs,” said co-driver Filipe Albuquerque. “We managed to, at one point, lead the race, but a penalty threw us a bit off.

“But then again, we were relaxed because there is always a yellow towards the end of the race. Yet, today was the record for the least amount of yellows at Sebring, and it was insane to go five hours without a yellow.

“That killed our chance to get back in the game, but the team did a great job.”

Team boss Wayne Taylor added: “There was a mistake made that was impossible to believe, but it was done. We were down a minute and thirty seconds, and Ricky ended the race 23 seconds behind.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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