Derani blames Taylor for late-race clash

Michael Levitt/Motorsport Images

Derani blames Taylor for late-race clash


Derani blames Taylor for late-race clash


After the late-race collision that ended his Action Express Whelen Engineering Cadillac team’s chances of a Petit Le Mans victory, Pipo Derani headed for the pit of Acura Team Penske to remonstrate with on-track sparring partner Ricky Taylor.

The pair had been waging an intense battle for the lead in the closing stages of the race. As they worked through traffic in the Esses with 10 minutes remaining, Taylor got a run on Derani and tried to outbrake the No. 31 Cadillac into Turn 6. But the Acura appeared to lose front end grip and nudged Derani’s car, sending it spinning backwards into a tire barrier. Taylor also spun and nearly collected the pursuing Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac of Renger van der Zande as he returned to the track. The No. 10 Cadillac picked up the lead and went on to win.

IMSA officials reviewed the incident, but decided to take no action against either driver.

“I was in front, and he pushed me out. That’s it,” Derani told reporters afterward. “There’s nothing much to say, and unfortunately we lost the race. We did everything we could, leading the race with 10 laps to go, and he just pushes me out on a desperate move to try and go to the lead. I think it was a mistake on his part, and I hope he sleeps on it.

“I lost a little bit of respect for him and for his teammates, who tried to accuse me of doing something wrong,” added the Brazilian. “It is what it is. I’m not at a racetrack to make friends — I want to win the next one.”

Taylor, who recovered to finish second in the No. 7 Acura DPi he shared with Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi, admitted he ‘hated’ the way their battle for the lead played out, but felt it was just a racing incident.

“I hate the way that it ended, and in no way did I mean to take out the No. 31 car,” Taylor said. “It’s Petit Le Mans — everyone wants to win this race and I saw an opportunity to do that for my team.

“To come home second is a solid points day, but we were the car to beat at the end and I’m bummed that we didn’t end on top of the podium.”

Instead, the win went to the Cadillac owned by Taylor’s father, Wayne, and driven by van der Zande, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon.