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Sep 18

WEC: No.1 Porsche takes third consecutive win at COTA

6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas

Reigning champions Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley took victory in today’s 6 Hours of COTA, the Lone Star Le Mans event at Austin, Texas. The trio secured a third consecutive WEC win after a gruelling race held in challenging hot conditions.

It was an exciting strategic battle between al of the LMP1 manufacturers – Audi, Porsche and Toyota, and all three were represented on the podium as the No.8 Audi of Lucas Di Grassi, Oliver Jarvis and Loic Duval came second and the No.6 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS 050 HYBRID of Mike Conway, Stephane Sarrazin and Kamui Kobayashi took third.

The No.13 Rebellion Racing R-One-AER of Dominik Kraihamer and Alexandre Imperatori took a conclusive win in the LMP1 Privateer class to take over the lead in the championship standings.

The complete article here on fiawec.com

source: fiawec.com

 

Searing heat, strong team effort – Porsche 919 Hybrid wins in Texas

By taking the season’s fifth win, Porsche has extended its lead in the manufacturers’ standings of the FIA World Endurance Championship. At the sixth out of nine championship rounds, held in Austin, Texas, the reigning world champions, Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AU) achieved their third victory in a row in tropical weather conditions. They had started from third position on the grid. Meanwhile coming from fifth on the grid, this year’s Le Mans winners, Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE), experienced a rather mixed race in the United States. They finished fourth in the six-hour race and defended their lead in the drivers’ championship.

When the race got underway at 5pm local time, ambient temperatures were over 35 degree Celsius and tested the drivers and mechanics to the limit. The cooler it became after sunset, the stronger the Porsche 919 Hybrid became. Thanks to a well-managed pit stop strategy, the winning trio took the lead some time after mid distance.

In total this is the 12th victory for the innovative Porsche 919 Hybrid prototype since its 2014 debut. For Bernhard/Hartley/Webber it is their seventh WEC success. Porsche now leads the manufacturers’ standings with 238 points ahead of Audi (185) and Toyota (137). Dumas/Jani/Lieb lead the drivers’ standings by 37.5 points ahead of the best Audi trio.

How the race went for car number 1:
Start driver Webber improves from P3 to P2, but then has to let the two leading Audis go. After 28 laps he hands the car over to Hartley, still in third position. During the stop Hartley drops back to fourth, but soon fights with Anthony Davidson in his Toyota and gets back P3. After 57 laps Bernhard takes over. His stint ends early after 76 laps, when the team uses a “Full Course Yellow” for a pit stop. Webber jumps in again and his stint is also shortened by a Full Course Yellow after lap 94. Hartley continues in P3. A longer pit stop for the number 8 Audi promotes him to P2. After 121 laps the race sees its third Full Course Yellow – just at the perfect time for the number 1 Porsche 919. Bernhard leaves the pits as the new race leader. On lap 133 an accident for the number 7 Audi leads to another Full Course Yellow. Bernhard hands over to Webber, who keeps defending the lead. After 164 laps Bernhard gets behind the wheel again. As happened during all the previous pit stops, the tyres were changed as well. Bernhard brings home another race win.

How the race went for car number 2:
Shortly after the start Dumas manages to get past Mike Conway’s Toyota and improves from fifth to fourth. But on lap four he is overtaken by Sébastien Buemi in the sister Toyota and is back in P5 again. After 27 laps Jani takes over and successfully attacks Davidson on lap 35. After 56 laps it is Lieb’s turn. The championship leaders continue in P4. After 76 laps during a Full Course Yellow Dumas jumps in again. After 93 laps – during the second Full Course Yellow – Jani takes over again. After 112 laps he is due to have an extra stop because of a slow puncture. He stays in the car and continues in P5 before the Audi’s mishap promotes him to fourth. After 134 laps he hands over the 919 to Lieb. After 161 laps and at the next stop there is a driver change to Dumas. With just 12 minutes to go, the Frenchman has to pit for tyres because of another slow puncture before he brings the car home in fourth position.

Quotes after the race:
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “We knew during the entire event that these high temperatures were difficult for us. The fact we still managed to win such a race gives us hope for the remaining three rounds and our target to defend both championship titles. Soon we will be heading to Japan where we can clearly expect cooler conditions, which should help. All I can say is: Thanks to the team here on site and to our colleagues back home in Weissach. We have made another step on the path to winning the title again. This makes us very happy today and now we will be working painstakingly for Fuji.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “Congratulations and a big thank you to the entire crew for this great team effort. At the beginning of the race, when the tarmac was extremely hot, we didn’t have the pace of the Audis. But thanks to a strong and error-free job by our drivers, the fastest pit stops of the field, dead right strategic decisions and flawless technology, we have earned and deserved this win. It was hard work. On car number 2 we lost front downforce early on in the race, and this prevented them from fighting for a top position. Nonetheless we have managed another step on our mission to win both championships again. We will use the next three weeks to prepare for the final three races.”

Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 1
Timo Bernhard (35, Germany): “I think it’s mega that we won our third consecutive race. We’ve had a difficult start to the season, but today delivered another error-free race. It was really hard work today! On my first stint the sun was very low and blinding, which wasn’t nice. But the longer the race went and the cooler it became, the more we improved. We closed the gap to one Audi and then we were lucky to get a Full Course Yellow when we were due to pit anyway.”

Brendon Hartley (26, New Zealand): “For us the race went very smoothly. It was clear to us that Audi would have an advantage in the high temperatures at the start, but we were hoping the race would come back to us and it did. After dark the competition with Audi was much more even. We got the strategy with the Full Course Yellow absolutely right.”

Mark Webber (40, Australia): “It was tough racing with fair battles today and Timo’s and Brendon’s drives were awesome. After the start we got into a rhythm. In the middle of the race the situation looked stable. The Audis in front were extremely quick in the heat, but this was no surprise. We knew we had to do a clean race and if they had stayed that strong we would have pushed them over the line. But then Audi had a problem and we have been lucky when the timing of a Full Course Yellow played into our hands. Despite the heat, our guys in the garage did a great job again in the pit stops.”

Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 2
Romain Dumas (38, France): “I drove at the start and on my first stint in the afternoon’s heat the car felt like driving on slicks in the wet. On my second stint I was unlucky with traffic. In total two slow punctures plus the nose change were time consuming. The result is good for the championship and for Porsche, but for us the race wasn’t nice. In Le Mans we were very lucky to win. Perhaps it is pay back time for this. But I think now that should be enough.”

Neel Jani (32, Switzerland): “I had a nice battle with the Toyota early on in the race when I did my first stint and it was good to overtake it. But grip was really a difficult topic today, because of the different rubber from the other series that raced before us. At some point our car was almost undriveable, and the understeer was brutal. We had lost a lot of downforce at the front and didn’t know why. Only after we had changed the nose cone did it became better. On top of that I had a slow puncture that cost more time. Apparently we aren’t having a run of luck at the moment.”

Marc Lieb (36, Ludwigsburg): “On my first stint I lost time because the car was understeering. My second stint was a lot better. After we changed the front part of the car we got rid of the rubber pick up and this understeer. Although I had mixed tyres on the car – used ones and fresh ones – the 919 was so much better to drive afterwards. It wasn’t our day, but the 919 ran reliably despite the heat. I was also fine with the cockpit temperature, because it had begun to get dark when I had my first stint.”

source: porsche.de

 

From pole position to victory: Alpine’s American dream!

FROM POLE POSITION TO VICTORY: ALPINE’S AMERICAN DREAM! The Alpine A460s were in sparkling form in qualifying, with home hero Gustavo Menezes and Nicolas Lapierre annexing the first pole position of the season for the N°36 Signatech-Alpine by almost a full second! In the hands of David Cheng and Nelson Panciatici, the sister N°35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine entry similarly achieved its best grid position to-date for a six-hour race as the pair lapped fifth-quickest in LMP2.

The green flag dropped at 5:00pm on Saturday under the stifling Texas sun, with an air temperature of more than 35°C. On the opening lap, the N°44 Manor snatched the initiative at the head of the LMP2 field, with the two Alpine A460s in hot pursuit. Roberto Merhi, Nicolas Lapierre and Nelson Panciatici proceeded to put on a thrilling wheel-to-wheel battle worthy of a grand prix around the spectacular Circuit of the Americas until ten laps in, when the N°36 Signatech-Alpine reclaimed a lead that it would not subsequently relinquish.

After 45 minutes, Lapierre passed the reins to team-mate Stéphane Richelmi, who produced a double stint as day turned into night. Although it never dipped below 30°C, the temperature did cool off slightly as humidity levels reached almost 70 per cent.

These conditions unsurprisingly took a physical toll on the drivers, with Panciatici being forced to abandon a planned double stint early on in the race. Suffering from dehydration, the Frenchman found himself having to hand over to Cheng before being taken to the circuit’s medical centre to recover.

The Baxi DC Racing Alpine was then struck by further misfortune at the beginning of Ho-Pin Tung’s second stint behind the wheel. A heavy impact with a kerb prompted a return to the garage to change the front end of the car and its front suspension, but following a swift 17-minute repair job, Ho-Pin and David brought the N°35 car safely home in eighth place in-class.

At the same time, the N°36 Signatech-Alpine was continuing to lap the Circuit of the Americas with metronomic consistency. Following Richelmi’s double stint, Menezes and Lapierre maintained an equally strong rhythm to establish an advantage of a full lap over their closest pursuers.

Menezes was afforded the honour of finishing the race on home turf, and as he completed his final stint, the Californian could scarcely contain his emotions as he crossed the finish line to win in front of family and friends.

The result enabled the N°36 Signatech-Alpine trio to stretch its lead in the championship table to 38 points, with the N°35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine remaining in ninth position.

The next race on the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) calendar will take place at Fuji in Japan on October 14-16.

Bernard Ollivier, Deputy Managing Director of Alpine: “What a race! It is easy to forget with the success we are enjoying that this is still only our first season running the Alpine A460s, but it is obvious that we are continuing to make progress every time out. We set the tone in qualifying in Texas by claiming our first pole position of the season. In the race, the entire team produced a flawless performance, and it is a source of immense pride to see Alpine win in the United States. With a perfect display of panache, the Signatech-Alpine drivers have increased their overall championship lead once again, meaning the pressure is most definitely on the shoulders of those trying to catch up. As for the Baxi DC Racing Alpine, we are convinced that its consistent improvement will soon yield the kind of result its crew is so clearly capable of.”

Philippe Sinault (Team Principal, Signatech-Alpine: “I think this was our most polished race since the start of the season, in every aspect, from the set-up of the cars and our strategy, to the performance of the drivers. We hit the ground running for free practice and winning pole position was an initial satisfaction. Physically, it turned out to be a tougher race than we were expecting. Nicolas, Stéphane, who was extenuated after his double stint, and Gustavo all accomplished their mission to the letter and that allowed us to challenge for our fourth win with the N°36 car. And, as we saw early on, the N°35 car has made progress, too, even though a few grains of sand got into the machine. After an excellent start, Nelson suffered from bad dehydration and we had to change our strategy. David put in his best race since joining the team but we then lost ground after Ho-Pin hit a kerb. If things go a little more in its favour, I can see this car fighting for a top-five finish each time out…”

Nelson Panciatici: “I really enjoyed the beginning of the race. At the start, I moved up from fifth into third, right in the wheel tracks of the N°36 but then things got more complicated at the beginning of my second stint. We wanted to try a double stint, but ultimately the conditions were too hot and I began to struggle for concentration, which meant I had to stop sooner than planned. I was subsequently taken to the medical centre to rehydrate, but thankfully I’m ok now.”

Ho-Pin Tung: “That was a very difficult race. We found ourselves having to modify our strategy and physically, it was extremely tough to handle the heat, not to mention tyre wear. During my second stint at night-time, I caught a large kerb on the inside of a corner. That caused quite a lot of damage, but the mechanics did an amazing job to repair it, which allowed us to finish and score some more points. Ultimately, it just wasn’t our weekend, but we can take confidence from having taken another step forward in terms of overall performance.”

David Cheng: “We had the potential to achieve a good result here, but the race didn’t exactly turn out as we had hoped… It was really hard to complete double stints in such hot conditions, even at night. There was no air inside the car, and the final laps in particular were extremely tough. It was a good job I trained so hard physically for this event! I would say this was my best race of 2016 so far. Setting up the DC Racing programmes at the beginning of the season took a lot out of me, but now that I can focus fully on my driving, I feel like I’m making real progress.”

Nicolas Lapierre: “Our car was the class of the field throughout the weekend in Austin and we took full advantage of that in both qualifying and the race! We decided to start on the same tyres we had used in qualifying, which was a small handicap compared with our rivals who were on fresh rubber. However, things levelled out after several laps, which enabled us to grab the lead and continue pushing hard right up to the end of my opening stint. The team managed the ‘Full Course Yellow’ interventions to perfection at critical stages of the race and my two team-mates did an excellent job, particularly Stéphane who succeeded in completing a double stint at a moment when nobody else had been able to do so.”

Stéphane Richelmi: “Don’t ever let anybody try to tell you that motorsport isn’t physically demanding! I am really pleased that I was able to complete a double stint; that had always been our intention, but in light of the conditions, the team asked me if I was still willing to give it a go. I reassured them that I was, and it worked out well. When a ‘Full Course Yellow’ fell a few laps before my planned pit-stop, we brought the stop forward which allowed me to get out of the car a bit earlier. I don’t think I’ve ever suffered so much in a racing car, but it was worth the effort. To finish a lap ahead of our closest rival was really rewarding. We demonstrated what we are capable of, and that fills us all with a lot of confidence moving forward.”

Gustavo Menezes: “Firstly, I need to say a big ‘thank you’ to the team for having given me the opportunity to finish the race. As an American, to take the chequered flag to win on home soil was an incredible feeling. It was unquestionably our best race of the year to-date, and my second favourite moment after victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Although we didn’t encounter any unexpected dramas, it was nonetheless a very demanding race. I don’t think I fully appreciated just how tough it would be until I got behind the wheel. Massive kudos to Stéphane, as he had the most difficult task of all of us and handled it admirably.

6 HOURS OF CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS LMP2 CLASSIFICATION

1. Signatech-Alpine N°36 172 laps
2. RGR Sport by Morand N°43 +1 lap
3. G-Drive Racing N°26 +1 lap
4. SMP Racing N°27 +4 laps
5. Extreme Speed Motorsports N°31 +4 laps
6. SMP Racing N°37 +5 laps
7. Extreme Speed Motorsports N°30 +6 laps
8. Baxi DC Racing Alpine N°35 +12 laps

FIA ENDURANCE TROPHY FOR LMP2 TEAMS (OFFICIAL)

1. Signatech-Alpine N°36 156pts
2. RGR Sport by Morand N°43 118pts
3. G-Drive Racing N°26 86pts
4. Extreme Speed Motorsports N°31 84pts

5. Strakka Racing N°42 58pts

5. SMP Racing N°37 58pts
7. SMP Racing N°27 44pts

8. Extreme Speed Motorsports N°30 36pts

9. Baxi DC Racing Alpine N°35 26pts

10. Manor N°44 18pts
11. Greaves Motorsport N°41 10pts

source: renault.com

 

Double podium for Ferrari at the 6 Hours of COTA

In GTE-Pro class, the AF Corse 488 GTE no. 51 of “Gimmi” Bruni and James Calado finishes second ahead of the no. 71 of Davide Rigon and Sam Bird

In GTE-Am class the 458 Italia of Collard-Perrodo-Aguas comes home in sixth Austin, 17 September 2016 – Ferrari clocked up the best possible result at the 6 Hours of COTA (Circuit of the Americas) in Austin, leaving the US with a double podium won by the two GTE 488s of AF Corse, the no. 51 of Gianmaria “Gimmi” Bruni and James Calado, and the no. 71 of Sam Bird and Davide Rigon. In GTE-Am class there was a disappointing race for the 458 Italia no. 83 of François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Rui Aguas, which after many difficulties managed finish in sixth bringing home important points for the championship.

GTE-Pro. In GTE-Pro class at the start, with the asphalt at a temperature of almost 50 degrees, Davide Rigon in the 488 no. 71 managed to hold onto second position while Gianmaria “Gimmi” Bruni dropped a place. However, he regained it shortly after when the Ford no. 66 had to make a long stop to fix the cockpit AC system. The opening of the second stint saw car no. 51 driven by a James Calado on top form, overtaking Sam Bird and then, with the help of the pit strategy, also passing the Aston Martin no. 97 of the series leader Darren Turner and Brazilian Fernando Rees. Meanwhile, Bird slipped back all the way to fourth behind the Aston Martin that with almost an extra 10 km/h of speed on the straight, was virtually untouchable. While all this was going on, in front the other British car, the no. 95 of Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim, dominated undisturbed. Car no. 71 retook third position with the help of the AF Corse pits and its superior management of two Full Course Yellows (when the cars have to keep to 80 km/h even on the track), and a Davide Rigon in fantastic form.

GTE-Am. It was uphill all the way for the only Ferrari in the GTE-Am class, the no. 83 AF Corse 458 Italia driven by Emmanuel Collard, François Perrodo and Rui Aguas. Starting from penultimate position with Collard at the wheel, it was punished by a series of mishaps from which it failed to recover. The car could only hold onto sixth, but still took some useful points for a championship that Perrodo, Collard and Aguas continue to lead. Victory in the category went to the Aston Martin of Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda, while the Porsche of Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley was the overall winner. The next race is at Fuji in mid-October. Antonello Coletta, Head of Attività Sportive GT: “We achieved the best possible result from today’s race, or perhaps even better since we managed to get behind one of two Aston Martins, cars clearly advantaged by the current Balance of Performance (BoP). Once again Ferrari, its drivers, Michelotto and AF Corse managed the race superbly from a strategic point of view, getting all their decisions right and putting Bruni and Calado, as well as Bird and Rigon, in a position to gain ground over their rivals after every pit stop. The numbers clearly say that Ferrari and its drivers are still fully in the running for the championship. However, we hope to take to the track in the next race at Fuji with a BoP that puts us in a position to compete on a par with everyone. If so we will certainly show the full worth of our drivers and the Ferrari 488 GTE”.

Gimmi” Bruni, driver of AF Corse no. 51 (2nd GTE-Pro): “We picked up important points in a race in which my partner and I didn’t get off to the best of starts. We struggled at the start due to a limited top speed and it wasn’t easy to handle the first stint. Thanks to the team’s strategy, the situation improved in the second half and, if on the one hand we could do nothing against the invincible Aston Martin, on the other the second step of the podium was never in doubt.”

James Calado, driver of AF Corse no. 51 (2nd GTE-Pro): “Today’s race had no room for distraction. Traffic also complicated matters in the race, especially in the second stint. I think that, given the values in play, we got the most out of today. We are still lagging in the standings, but over the last few races we have recovered points on almost all of our rivals: We still believe in ourselves and remain confident.”

Davide Rigon, driver AF Corse no. #71 (3rd GTE-Pro): “Today’s podium was won in really extreme conditions. The heat was stifling, and after a good start we had a few problems. I am happy with 3rd, it brought us important points in the standings.”

Sam Bird, driver AF Corse no. #71 (3rd GTE-Pro): “Today’s race was very demanding, because we had to fight throughout with a car that was not as fast as that of our opponents on the straights. Also the heat on the track meant that in my first stint there was greater than usual degradation. All in all we shouldn’t discount today’s podium because even on an imperfect day we showed the ability to respond thanks to the team’s strategies. We even slipped to fifth place but managed to climb back onto the podium. We are second in the drivers’ standings, but at Fuji want to try to regain the first place we already occupied in the first two races of the season.”

source: ferrari.com

 

Stunning 6h COTA podium for Pierre Ragues after faultless race

Pierre Ragues has secured a fourth podium of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season after a strong run to third position in the 6 Hours of COTA.

The Frenchman, along with Larbre Competition team-mates Ricky Taylor and Lars Viljoen, set a competitive pace in Saturday’s day-into-night race to finish comfortably inside the top-three after being among the quickest in GTE-Am all weekend in their #50 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.

The result comes after the team’s third places in Silverstone, Spa and Nürburgring, and helps them close the gap to third place overall in the Championship table after disappointment in Mexico last time out.

The 5.513km anti-clockwise Circuit of the Americas has once again provided a scintillating race week with extremely hot conditions greeting teams and drivers. Thursday’s opening practice session already showed Larbre Competition’s intent as they set the fastest time in GTE-Am. They added a further 35 laps in the second session on Thursday, totalling 61 for the day, as they set solid foundations.

Friday practice ran without any trouble as the team prepared for qualifying. Despite Ricky setting the fastest time in GTE-Am in the session, the team would start the 6 Hours of COTA from sixth in class.

American Ricky started the race in positive spirits, making up two positions in the opening half an hour. Pierre was scheduled to drive second of the three drivers, and took over the #50 car in the second hour, helping to position the team firmly in the podium fight. Once again, showing his competitiveness behind the wheel of the Corvette, Pierre enjoyed a strong run and handed over the Lars with 3h30 left on the clock.

Even with Full Course Yellow periods during the second half of the race, Larbre Competition remained focused on their own strategy and consolidated their third place as Ricky, then Lars and ultimately Pierre all took their second shifts in the car. Pierre’s task was to complete the race and to bring home the podium, saving fuel to ensure the team didn’t have to pit for a splash before the end. Third place was his reward for a job well done and a professional, measured drive.

Pierre commented: “I am delighted we have been able to take our fourth podium of the season with a great drive around COTA. We knew from the opening practice sessions that we had the pace in the Corvette to challenge for the podium this weekend, so it’s great to achieve our objective. Along with Ricky and Lars, we have had a trouble-free and strong race, setting some quick and consistent times. As always this is a team effort, so it’s a result we can all share and be proud of. COTA is a fantastic track, a real challenge, and it’s incredible to have the Le Mans-style day into night racing. It adds a special atmosphere, for sure. It’s been a very hot weekend, with extremely high track and ambient temperatures, so extra thanks must go to our mechanics who have worked so professionally in hard conditions. Thanks too to my partners at GroupAuto, Sparco and Ellip6 for their support in helping us to add to our podium tally.”

source: pierreragues.com

 

Tincknell records his fourth top-six finish for Ford in North American race

Harry sets hot pace in Texas heat but just misses out on second podium finish for Ford. Britain’s Harry Tincknell recorded his fourth top-six finish in his sixth race for the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team in the 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas yesterday (17 Sep) after another fine drive that practically went unrewarded. Tincknell, sharing the “factory” Ford GT with co-drivers Andy Priaulx and Marino Franchitti, finished fourth in the GTE Pro class in the North American race staged in Austin, Texas – less than 14secs off scoring a second podium finish for Ford.

For his third consecutive race, Harry set very consistent and fast laps during his “clean” stints – Tincknell’s on-track pace matching the searing hot ambient temperatures. It marked Harry’s seventh FIA World Endurance Championship career top-six finish in only his 10th WEC race. Tincknell, who was racing at the Circuit of The Americas for the first time in his career, combined with Priaulx to claim a sixth in class grid start and got behind the wheel of the Ford GT for the first time in the race shortly after two hours, after single stints by Priaulx and Franchitti who both ran fifth for the majority of the time.

Harry remained fifth, the race run in energy-sapping heat and humid conditions despite the race starting in early evening but moved into fourth place after pitting during a brief Safety Car period. “Tinks” had impressively reduced the gap to third before pitting with two hours to run – Priaulx duly taking fourth place at the chequered flag just 13.376secs off from what would have been a deserved podium finish. The Ford GT clocked up 555-miles at an average speed of almost 92mph.

Round seven of the WEC is staged at the Fuji International Speedway in Japan on 16 October but “Tinks” will be back in European Le Mans Series action next weekend (23-25 Sep). Harry lies second in the championship standings heading to the 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, eight-points behind the series leaders. The race in Belgium is a new addition to the ELMS calendar with Harry eager to retake the championship lead in the JOTA Sport operated G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S-Nissan.

“I was really happy with my stints but again disappointed that we did not make the podium for the third consecutive race. I was super quick and fought well – the consoling thing is that I know I’m driving well. The team did a good all-round job and it’s just so gutting to be so close to getting on the podium. I had a couple of laps in qualifying excluded by the organisers for exceeding track limits which was frustrating. I felt they were debatable decisions but rules are rules and perhaps I ran wide by a couple of millimetres. One of the laps taken away from me was the fastest of the session. But I quickly need to refocus for next weekend’s very important ELMS race. Spa is one of the world’s great tracks and I’m lucky to have already had a lot of success there. In fact, I’ve been on the podium for all three of my previous visits when I raced a LMP2 sports-prototype in the WEC over the past two years including winning by over a lap last year. Those races were in May so racing there in September there will be a greater risk of changeable conditions but I think that will suit us. We need a good fight back from the entire team to regain the championship lead heading to the Estoril finalé”.

source: harrytincknellracing.com

 

Podium finish in COTA furnace for G-Drive Racing

G-Drive Racing secured a well-deserved podium finish at the sixth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in the USA to keep their title hopes alive.

The #26 ORECA 05-Nissan, driven by Alex Brundle, Rene Rast and Roman Rusinov, started from the back of the field at the Six Hours of the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, but staged a superb recovery to finish third in the LMP2 class and 10th overall.

It was the third podium of the 2016 season for the car that is operationally run by the JOTA Sport organisation and moved G-Drive Racing up to third in the championship points with three races remaining.

Brundle, whose qualifying efforts had been disallowed for exceeding track limits, began the race from the back of the field. But the Briton wasted no time in slicing his way through the order.

Within five minutes he’d climbed 13 places, and by the end of his stint he’d made further gains to lie fifth in LMP2 and 13th overall.

Rast continued the orange ORECA’s progress after taking over driving duties and swiftly dispatched several key championship rivals. The rapid German got to within just 10-seconds of the leader at one stage. However, ultimately the G-Drive Racing team were able to only take advantage of two Full Course Yellow periods in the race as they were forced to run a different pit stop sequence compared to their rivals.

Rast handed the car over to Rusinov in a podium position and the Russian consolidated the position before a close fight ensued during the second half of the race for the runner-up spot. Rast trailed Filipe Albuquerque in the rival #43 Ligier by 30 seconds as he climbed aboard for his final stint with 90 minutes left.

A storming stint by Rast got him to within six seconds of his Portuguese rival, but with slower traffic and full-course yellows working against him, the German was unable to get any closer and reached the chequered flag in third.

The result moves G-Drive Racing, who also set the race’s fastest lap, up to third in the FIA Trophy for LMP2 Teams while Rast and Rusinov occupy third in the drivers’ championship. Brundle, contesting only his third race for the team in 2016, climbed four places to 15th.

The next round of the championship, the Six Hours of Fuji, Japan, takes place on 16 October, but G-Drive Racing return to action next weekend for the Four Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium as they continue to pursue the European Le Mans Series title with their #38 Gibson 015S-Nissan.

Roman Rusinov
“In this circumstance of having to start from the back we finished third and it was not too bad. For sure it would be better to win but it was still a good result.

“We had some tough situations with the gearbox and brake issues in the last two races so it was nice for the team to get a podium. We know go to Fuji where I won last year so this is something I look forward to and to push for the victory.”

Rene Rast
“The conditions were very tough with the temperature close to 100 degrees ambient. It was a real endurance test but I was happy with the way we performed and the pace in the car was very nice, I had fun out there. We had some frustrations over the weekend but we fought back well as a team and the spirit we have will, I am sure, mean that the first victory will come soon.”

Alex Brundle
“The opening of the race was good and I managed to carve through the GT classes and a good proportion of the LMP2 field quickly. We just lost out in a couple of the FCY periods which hurt us at the end.

“A podium was a solid result but when we know that we have class winning potential. The conditions were brutal out there and my race boots felt as though they were melting out there. I’ve never experienced conditions like those before.”

Sam Hignett, Partner – JOTA Sport
“It is nice to be back on the podium after the recent tough breaks we had. But we of course wanted to be on the top rung. It wasn’t possible today but we showed true fighting spirit coming from the back like that and Alex turned in a fine opening stint in very tough conditions.

“We were not able to capitalise on two of the Full Course Yellows due to being out of sequence on stops. This ultimately stopped us from challenging for the win. We know we are capable of taking a win with the pace of the car and the quality of the team, so we just have to be a little more patient for that first win of the year.”

LMP2 Race Result – Circuit of the Americas

1 Menezes/Lapierre/Richelmi    Signatech Alpine A460-Nissan
2 Senna/Albuquerque/Gonzalez      RGR Sport Ligier JS P2-Nissan
3 Brundle/Rast/Rusinov               G-Drive Racing ORECA 05-Nissan
4 Minassian/Mediani                      SMP Racing BR01-Nissan
5 Dalziel/Derani/Cumming           ESM Ligier JS P2-Nissan
6 Petrov/Ladygin/Shaitar              SMP Racing BR01-Nissan

2016 FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Drivers – After six rounds

1 Signatech Alpine                           156
2 RGR Sport by Morand                  118
3 G-Drive Racing                              88
4 Extreme Speed Motorsports           84
5 Strakka Racing                                58
6 SMP Racing                                    58

2016 FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams – After six rounds

1 Menezes/Lapierre/Richelmi           156
2 Senna/Albuquerque/Gonzalez       115
3 Rast/Rusinov                                  86
4 Cumming/Derani/Dalziel                   84
5 Kane/Leventis                                   58
6 Ladygin/Shaitar/Petrov                     52
15 Brundle                                          22

source: JOTA Sport, etra-promotion.com

 

Another great WEC podium finish for Joel Camathias, 2nd at Austin

Another great performance in the FIA WEC for Joel Camathias, rewarded again with a podium: as in Mexico, the Swiss driver has conquered second in LMGTE Am at the 6 Housrs of the Circuit of the Americas, at Austin, Texas.

The trio composed of Joel, Wolf Henzler and Christian Ried has posted a perfect race in this second American round of the WEC, raced at night and with very warm weather, thus confirming the excellent level of competitiveness reached by the Porsche 911 RSR of Hong Kong-based team KCMG.

The WEC is now heading to Asia, with the next round scheduled at the Fuji Speedway, in Japan, on 15th October.

Joel Camathias:

“I am really happy: it has been a perfect weekend, without any hiccup, and we have always been battling for first position, since practice. Again, I have had the satisfaction to qualify the car, in third, and to take the start, but really it’s the entire team that has done a terrific work, giving us a car in perfect conditions. It has been a tough race, because even at night, the temperature and the humidity were oppressing, but everything has gone well, and personally, I felt very comfortable on a track which is exciting, but very technical. Now we can be happy for another great result and go to Asia with the perspective of continuing to do well.”

source: joelcamathias.com

 

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