The Inter Europol Competition team had a tough time at Barcelona for the first race weekend of the year. New to the team driver Xavier Michel (FRA) hoped to get more time in the #33 Ligier JS-P3 LMP3 but a broken drive shaft saw his and teammate Paul Scheuschner’s (GER) time limited. Even less time in the free practice sessions was there for the #22 LMP3 drivers Kuba Smiechowski (POL) and Hendrik Still (GER) as their car needed a new engine.
In a rather uneventful qualifying session where all four drivers pushed, Smiechowski set the fastest time of 1m42s745 in the #22 and put in on the 4th place on the LMP3 grid, while Scheuschner set a time of 1m45s147 in the #33 to start from 7th.
Still started the race in the #22 car as Smiechowski is the Elite driver and therefore cannot start. Scheuschner took the start in the #33 LMP3. After the two hour mark the #22 car was second overall and first in the LMP3 class. The #33 was 7th in LMP3 and in 9th position overall. Both cars were running smooth and lap times were good. Everybody happy.
Then just before the driver change half way the race, another drive shaft problem reared its ugly head. This time not in one, but in both cars. And at almost the same time. The team showed their absolute best in the next 45 – 50 minutes and sent out the #33 with 1 hour and 16 minutes left on the clock with the second new drive shaft of the weekend and 14 minutes later the #33 left the pitbox.
Smiechoswki and Still finished 8th in LMP3 while the #33 with teammates Scheuschner and Michel was not classified due to not driving 75% of the laps of the leader.
Hendrik Still (#22) said just after his stint: “I was very happy with the car and the set up. I had a very good start and moved up two places. Driving in the VdeV championship with nine drive-throughs because of the Elite/Open driver combination, you have to rely on the engineer possibly more than in any other races. My engineer does a great job to have me do a drive-through when there is too much traffic.”
Paul Scheuschner (#33) said after the race: “This is my first race in the VdeV and in a car with no ABS. Tough going as it is such a different style of driving. But I am getting used to it and will get better with more time in the car. I like the track here and the team showed such a great team spirit in getting both cars repaired at the same time. Job well done!”
Next for the team: ELMS official test, Monza (Italy) 28 – 29 March.
Next VdeV race: 6 hour race, Portimao (Portugal), 29 – 30 April.
The Inter Europol Competition team participates in the following series: