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DERANI: Silverstone Debrief

Pipo Derani files his first Sportscar365 column after Silverstone…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

What a weekend at Silverstone. Even though I have raced many times in the UK, snow at a race meeting was a new one on me. For a Brazilian it took some getting used to, I can tell you!

But in all seriousness the first round of the FIA World Endurance Championship last weekend was a very nice start for us at Tequila Patrón ESM.

To come away with starting on the front row, a second place finish and the fastest lap was satisfying.

Of course, I want that first win in LMP2 in the WEC and we will be striving to get that done as soon as possible.

You know, before the Silverstone weekend it had not been easy for us in the No. 31 car because for various reasons Ryan (Dalziel), Chris (Cumming) and myself didn’t get that much running in together as a trio.

We all know that teamwork and how drivers gel with each other is very important in endurance. You need time to get everything working perfectly and in synchronization together.

So, the indications are very positive indeed when you consider the lack of time we had spent together.

In free practice and qualifying we were actually still getting familiar and even things like the actual moulding and making of my seat were still being finalized.

Qualifying was good and I managed to set the outright fastest lap in tricky conditions. This helped to secure a front-row start for the No.31 Tequila Patrón ESM Ligier JS P2 Nissan.

In the race we had a good strategy for me to start and to try and build a gap at the front quickly.

I was able to do this and overtake a fast starting (Nicolas) Minassian down the inside at Brooklands corner on lap one. I was able to stretch the gap that we wanted, before I handed over to Chris.

We lost some time after Chris had a quick spin. This happens sometimes and I thought he recovered well. Chris is a key and important part of the team and he will benefit from the running and experience gained this weekend.

Remember, it is still all quite new for him in LMP2 cars. He is a super intelligent guy and he thinks a lot about his racing and where improvements can be made.

After Ryan’s double stint, I got back in, and after the safety car we were able to get back on the lead lap.

I was able to hold off (Nicolas) Lapierre and (Rene) Rast to bring the car home in second place.

Looking back on the race we were a little unlucky with the Full Course Yellow as we pitted just before it.

We estimate that this lost us around 45 seconds, but this is part and parcel of endurance racing. It probably evens itself over a season in terms of negatives and positives.

So, we came away from Silverstone feeling encouraged and with a good platform for the rest of the season.

The team were again brilliant and I have to say the way that the Tequila Patrón ESM and the OAK Racing have integrated together has been great to see.

It’s not easy on lots of levels and a great deal of credit has to be given to Philippe Dumas for managing it. The spirit in the team, in every department, is very positive and we have lots to look forward to this season together.

I must also say I was happy for my 2015 team mate Ricardo (Gonzalez) and our engineer from last season Gautier (Bouteiller) at the RGR Sport by Morand team.

They worked really hard to get that team up and running, so well done to them on the win.

But, make no mistake, we will be fighting extra hard now to beat them at Spa-Francorchamps next month.

It is a track I especially love and I’m already counting down the hours to when I can get back in the car.

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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