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IMSA at Sebring: Derani/Nasr (Cadillac) in WeatherTech and McQuarie/Westphal in Michelin Pilot

IMSA at Sebring: Derani/Nasr (Cadillac) in WeatherTech and McQuarie/Westphal in Michelin Pilot

IMSA WeatherTech at Sebring

Sebring Fl, July 18/20 (Jeff Olson/IMSA): Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani didn’t necessarily expect to dominate the Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring, but that’s exactly what they did.

Derani started from the pole position Saturday in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi V.R. and pulled ahead of the field. Nasr then took over and did much the same, crossing the finish line 36.432 seconds ahead of Ryan Briscoe to win the DPi class and finish first overall in the two-hour 40-minute race at Sebring International Raceway.

For Nasr, who missed the IMSA WeatherTech 240 on July 4 after testing positive for COVID-19, the victory was special.

"I really went through a lot the last days," said Nasr, who experienced mild symptoms before testing negative and returning to racing. "I was frustrated, but it was something I couldn’t control. My first intention was to protect the team. It was hard to miss Daytona."

The victory was the first for the No. 31 team during the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, which resumed earlier this month after being delayed more than five months because of the virus. The car finished fifth July 4 with Gabby Chaves filling in for Nasr, and seventh in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.

It also was Derani’s fourth victory at Sebring; he previously won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts three times.

"I think this place likes me," Derani said. "It was a fantastic day for us. We had our last win last year at Petit Le Mans. This team is so used to winning, and not having the two races at Daytona go our way wasn’t what the team expected. … I love this place. We had a dominant car the whole way. It’s fantastic when you can roll off the truck with a setup that is as good as we had today."

Briscoe tried to challenge Nasr during the second half, taking the lead in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R he shared with Renger van der Zande when Nasr pitted in the final 45 minutes. But when Briscoe pitted with 34 minutes remaining, Nasr took the lead and sailed away from there.

"I couldn’t think of a better race to come back to IMSA," he said. "I love this series. I love this track. Sebring is just amazing, and I think Sebring loves us back. … It’s such a gift. I can’t describe it."

Sebastien Bourdais charged up to pass Oliver Jarvis on the final lap to give the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing/JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi V.R he shared with Joao Barbosa a third-place finish. It was their third consecutive podium result.

• Click HERE for the results of the WeatherTech race at Sebring.

• The season resumes July 31-Aug. 2 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

IMSA MPC MAXWELL MUSTANG NO 22 RD07 20seb 0155#22 Multimatic Motorsports Inc. Ford Mustang GT4, GS: Seb Priaulx, Scott Maxwell (LAT/Richard Dole)

IMSA Michelin Pilot at Sebring

Sebring, FL, July 18/20 (Jeff Olson/IMSA): Tyler McQuarrie and Jeff Westphal outlasted three storms Friday at Sebring International Raceway — two that delayed and eventually ended the race and the storm of cars on the track.

After waiting out a one-hour, 15-minute delay because of lightning, McQuarrie and Westphal prevailed in the GS class of the Advent Health 120, the second race of the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season.

They teamed in the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Audi R8 GT4 to outlast the No. 60 KohR Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4 driven by Nate Stacy and Kyle Marcelli after racing was curtailed a second time because of lightning and eventually ended under caution.

It was the first race for the Michelin Pilot Challenge since the season-opening BMW Endurance Challenge At Daytona in January. The pandemic-related delay was difficult for the team, Westphal said, but it was prepared to resume.

"We win as a team, we lose as a team, and we learn as a team," Westphal said. "Everyone at CarBahn with Peregrine Racing has been working hard and ready to go as soon as they told us it was safe to go back racing, doing it with social distancing and masks. The team is excited and we’re excited. We’re in a great position."

McQuarrie took the lead from the pole position at the start, pulling away from Robby Foley in the Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 and Stacy in the Aston Martin. But five laps into the race, red flags waved because of lightning in the area.

After the two-hour race was restarted with an hour and 10 minutes remaining, McQuarrie lost the lead to Stacy. However, the CarBahn team regained the lead during its pit stop and driver change, when Westphal left the pits ahead of Marcelli.

"The mixed conditions came into play, and that’s something we did really well last year to win the championship," McQuarrie said. "We know when to push it and when to pull back the reins in these mixed conditions. It worked last year. It was too risky with the sprinkles coming down, so I just backed it down a bit. I just wanted to keep them right there."

Harry Gottsacker and Mark Wilkins teamed to win the TCR class in the No. 21 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Veloster N TCR. They finished 12th overall.

Wilkins credited Gottsacker’s quick start with their victory in the TCR class.

"Harry did a monster start," Wilkins said. "He was right up in the GS field in the beginning, which was really cool. That got me inspired. … It just felt like clockwork. All of this work we’ve been doing these last few years as a team really carried over."

• Click HERE for the results of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Sebring.

• The Michelin Pilot Challenge season resumes at Road America on Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on July 31-Aug. 2.


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