After Pipo Derani’s memorable run at Daytona helped Tequila Patron ESM to victory at the opening 24 Hours of Daytona and a subsequent win at Sebring, a third consecutive Tequila Patrón Endurance Cup win was in the team’s sights with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen. But hopes were dashed when the No. 2 Honda Ligier JS P2 co-driven by Scott Sharp and TOTAL Pole Award winner Johannes van Overbeek retired with one hour, 11 minutes remaining due to a mechanical failure.
The team had quickly changed a power steering part under caution and stayed in contention until the late failure. Derani passed the Action Express Corvette DP driven by Joao Barbosa one minute before the three-hour mark to earn the maximum five-point bonus for leading the halfway segment in the Patrón Endurance Cup. But the failure ended their day with a ninth-place finish in class, 33rd overall. Tequila Patron ESM has unofficially gone from a first-place tie with Action Express to second in the Patron Endurance Cup, down two points entering the season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Oct. 1.
“It’s a shame, because the car was good and we had a shot at victory,” Derani said. “It felt good to be able to take the lead at the midway point. They told me to push to try to overtake him, so I pushed and it was very satisfying to take the point. Now we’ll try to bounce back at Petit Le Mans.”
There was also late disappointment for the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP, which was looking for its third straight win in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen. With 93 minutes remaining, leader Marc Goossens spun and went off track, resulting in a sixth-place finish.
“We are obviously always pushing it to be on that limit. It almost felt like the car was very different from one set of tires to the next, but I felt pretty nice and comfortable,” said Goosens. “That stint that I spun, I got myself into a nice rhythm being consistent and then the next thing I knew it just snapped for me in the rear. I don’t know what it was, but I hate it because I feel like I let the whole team down. Strategy-wise I think we were all set to be right there. Obviously it can always go either way depending on the yellows, but I think we did have something strategy-wise. I think it would have worked and it is just very unfortunate. So I promise everybody I will try to make up for it next week at Mosport.”