Photo from Sebring Raceway, United States, where Tequila Patrón ESM achieved a glorious feat this Saturday (19), completing the commonly dubbed 36 Hours of Florida on a high note, with emphasis in the high.
The Honda powered Ligier JS P2 with the No. 2 on it, driven by Johannes van Overbeek, Ed Brown, Scott Sharp and Pipo Derani, appeared as a late candidate for the victory at the Sebring 12 Hours, but always lurking behind the fleet of Corvette DP machines from Action Express Racing and visitflorida.com Racing. And it was the guy with the trophy in hands that made what can be called a miracle.
Derani got the car for the final stint with an hour and a half to go, needing to reach the leaders with around 15 seconds of disadvantage. Time passed quickly and the yellow flags near the end of the race did their job for the Brazilian driver, leaving him less than a second behind Dane Cameron and Filipe Albuquerque in the No. 31 and No. 5 machines.
And then, with 8 minutes to go and with better tires thanks to an alternative choice in the last pit stop, Derani then made the miracle, performing the same risky move in both in front of him: late brake, going for the inside line to accelerate for glory, first into Albuquerque and then in Cameron, and in a bit more than two minutes he was in the lead. Then it was just a double task of bringing the car home and getting away of the competition, seeing the checkered after 238 laps, with almost 3 seconds to the runner-up car.
Tequila Patrón ESM and Derani himself achieved quite a feat by winning at Daytona and Sebring in the same season, something not seen since 1996 with Doyle Racing. The other winners of the day were equally double winners from Corvette Racing and their No. 4 Corvette C7R in the GTLM class, the No. 54 CORE Autosport car in the PC class and Scuderia Corsa with the No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 in the GTD class, the first class win for the new Italian machine.
PHOTO: Tequila Patrón ESM