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DERANI: Shanghai Debrief

Pipo Derani files his latest Sportscar365 column…

Photo: Drew Gibson/ESM

Photo: Drew Gibson/ESM

We came away from the Six Hours of Shanghai having had one of our best races but we were only able to register a fifth position in the LMP2 class, which is obviously not where we want to be, especially as we have proved we can fight for and clinch podiums this year.

Yes, the opposition is as tough as ever in LMP2 this season, but there have been doubts all year from various people about the balance and fairness with some of the ‘silver’ categorized drivers in the FIA WEC this season.

I think what we saw at Shanghai perfectly reflected this. In my opinion, and I emphasize it is only my opinion, three of the four cars that finished ahead of us featured ‘silver’ drivers that in the spirit of endurance competition do not fulfill the true categorization like our true silver driver Chris Cumming does.

In my mind, and many others, Chris represents the true notion of an amateur driver.

I know I am not alone in sharing this frustration and I must state that I am not against these other drivers at all because they are all doing fine jobs and it is not their fault. But in the context of fairness I don’t think it is correct and we can all see how it plays out.

Having said this, we have to get on with it and it is the same for some other crews in LMP2 this season.

What I can be more positive about is my own performance in China. As I mentioned, we had a great clean race and both Ryan and Chris did really good jobs and the maximum they could have.

When I got in the Tequila Patron ESM cockpit with two and a half hours remaining I really pushed and was happy to know that along with Nicolas Lapierre, I was the quickest over a 60-lap average which I was pleased about because irrespective of the ‘silver drivers’ situation it shows that from a personal standpoint I am right at the top of the category on pace and consistency.

As ever the Tequila Patron squad was fantastic again at Shanghai. They didn’t put a foot wrong and it is a pleasure to work with Phillipe Dumas and all the guys in the team; they are complete pros and the best team I have been with in my career.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Signatech Alpine guys on their title triumph. They have done a fantastic job all season and they deserve to celebrate their achievement.

It may be coming towards the end of the season but times are as busy as ever. Next week I have an important test in Europe which although I can’t tell you about could be really exciting for my plans next season.

I also head over to Cologne and to the Toyota Motorsport GmbH headquarters. I will be doing a sim session and also having a seat fitting for the test in Bahrain.

I can’t really describe how excited I am about that. It will be a fantastic opportunity and one I will be grabbing with both hands to make the most of.


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

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