Petit Le Mans 2018: Pole position and performance without reward for the #2 and #22 Onroak-Nissan DPi of Tequila Patron ESM
10-13 October 2018, final round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Petit Le Mans with a ten-hour race. The #22 Onroak-Nissan DPi of Tequila Patron ESM clinched the pole position with Pipo Derani behind the wheel. Norman Nato qualified the #2, the sister car, in fourth. Penalised by various incidents, the Onroak-Nissan DPi were prevented from going for the win. The #22 and #2 finished sixth and eleventh.
After its victory at Laguna Seca, Pipo Derani scored the fastest time with the #22 Onroak-Nissan DPi of Tequila Patron ESM, 0.124 seconds clear of the Mazda DPi entered by Team Joest. This was Pipo Derani's third pole position with a Tequila Patron ESM Onroak-Nissan DPi in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
After a perfect start, the #22 led the race during 20 laps. It was stopped by a puncture caused by debris on the track. It resumed last of the prototypes, one lap behind the leading cars. After four hours of racing, it was third. One hour from finishing, it was first, outpacing its competitors by five seconds.
That was until a puncture, four laps before it had planned to pit for its last refuel and change of tyres. This unexpected pit created a delay with its direct competitors. Pipo Derani tried to save as much gas as possible. Yet, two laps from the end of the race, he had to pit for a splash of gas.
The #22 finished sixth. If it hadn't been for this puncture, the #22 Onroak-Nissan DPi could have gone for the victory.
The #2 – that started fourth – was tenth at the end of the first lap. It progressively catched up on its competitors. After two hours of racing, it was second. A loose wheel nut forced the #2 to stop in the pits for a repair. It lost ten laps. Without this technical incident, it could have fought for victory. It finished eleventh.
For this last race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, Tequila Patron ESM has showed the performance of the Onroak-Nissan DPi. Since 2017, Tequila Patron ESM and their Onroak-Nissan DPi scored 8 podiums, 3 victories and three pole positions.