Renger van der Zande has described his end-of-race battle with Felipe Nasr that resulted in contact between the two Cadillac DPi-V.Rs in the fight for second in Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The Dutchman wrestled his way to a runner-up finish in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing entry, getting by the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac of Nasr with three laps to go in the two-hour and 40-minute contest.
The two cars made side-to-side contact between Turns 3 and 4.
“It was hairy at the end with Felipe Nasr,” van der Zande said. “I’ve had great fights with him and this one was very much on the limit.
“We touched two times. I had to go for it. I was behind him and felt I was faster.
“I didn’t make a move like that the whole race. I wanted to make it happen but not in a difficult way. It was late in the race and I felt it was the right time to do it.
“We had a really good car from the Chip Ganassi Racing team today. The Acura cars were really strong, so I think this was the maximum today.”
Nasr didn’t share the same view of the contact, which resulted in no further action from race control.
“We made some good strategy moves and got up to second place,” he said. “Everything was looking good to hold on for second until we got taken out by the No. 01 car in a way, I feel, you shouldn’t overtake other cars by bumping them and pushing them off the track.”
Nasr’s co-driver Pipo Derani believes they maximized on a day that was dominated by the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 of Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque, who extended their championship lead to 100 points over the Brazilian duo.
“I had a good double stint,” Derani said. “Throughout those stints, we managed to jump a couple of cars and we went to P2 and P3 in the race – depending on the No. 60 car.
“I think we did the best we could. Of course, we were really close to finishing second. But, just at the very end, we lost the position to the No. 01 car.
“In general, it was a positive day for Whelen Engineering. We got lots of points for the championship. We’ve got to win the next two [races] and we’re going to try our best to achieve that.”