It was once again a nailbiting end of a race. Last weekend in the Paul Ricard race of the ELMS, the Inter Europol Competition team missed first place by 2.4 seconds, just time running out. Here at Jarama in the VdeV championship, after having started from fourth, first place was for the #22 driven by Kuba Smiechowski and Hendrik Still.
Third place was in the cards for the #33 drivers Paul Scheuschner, Johann Ledermair and Peter Elkmann. After starting from fifth and with 20 minutes to go, Ledermair was in the car and pushed and pushed and passed the #39 Graff car to move up to third. In his stint Ledermair never showed that it was his first time in the LMP3 and on the track. It was with 10 minutes to go, that a spin of the #20 LMP3 of DB Autosport gave the #33 the chance to move second. Ledermair overtook the car and the Inter Europol Competition team finished the race in first and second place. Another week, another podium. Second in the ELMS and first and second in the VdeV.
The start of the race went well for the two cars, though not much luck for the #9 Duqueine car which started from second. It got hit, left the track and had to come into the pits. The #22 with Still behind the wheel moved up to second. The #33 driven by Scheuschner was not bothered by the incident.
After 1,5 hours Still led the race with five of the drivethroughs done. Scheuschner was in fourth place and done three of the five drivethroughs.
The #22 had a total of eight drivethroughs and the #33 five. This means they have to drive through the pitlane to even out the difference between the drivers who are devided in three categories (Elite, Open and Gentleman). Depending on the configuration of the driver pairing in a car, the number of drivethroughs is decided.
After nearly two hours in the car, Paul Scheuschner handed the car to Peter Elkmann in a very quick pitstop. The practice by the team done yesterday, paid off. He fell back to fifth overall.
With just under two hours to go, the #22 came in and Smiechowski took over from Still. Six of the eight drivethoughs were done. After the pitstop the #22 dropped back to third.
With three hours done the cars were in first and second position. The #22 was leading and had one more drivethrough left to do. Elkmann handed the #33 to Ledermair who also had one more drivethrough to do.
With 45 minutes left it was going to be tight for the #33 to climb back to the third position. But Ledermair gave it his all. He showed his driving talent as this was his first time in the LMP3 and his first time on this track. He pushed and with 17 minutes to go he overtook the #39 Graff LMP3 to third place. Then the #20 of DB Autosport spun and Ledermair was only eight seconds behind him. With 10 minutes to go Ledermair moved up to second.
Hendrik Still #22: ‘I was very lucky at the start as in front of me two cars made contact and I could avoid them and no safety car was needed. I moved up to second place. I followed the Norma but it was just too quick. All weekend the Normas were about one second faster than the Ligier. I decided to find my own rhythm and race my own race. That worked. The car has a great fuel consumption and the team managed the drivethroughs really well. I think we had the strongest driver line up in both cars this weekend, so we had a good chance to win the race. And we did. I do very much like this circuit. I looked at some videos before coming here and it looked much easier than it is. But it has moved in my top five of all tracks, so I hope I will be back one day. Specially after this win.”
Johann Ledermair #33: ‘The team did a brilliant job and the car was very good. I have to say this as that is how I thank the team. In my stint I pushed hard which is not easy with tyres which have already done an hour with your teammate. I wanted to overtake the Graff car very badly and pushed at all the corner and finally I did. I did not see the #20 spin. So happy we finished second! This car is so different from the GP2 I have raced before. It is fun and driving with teammates is a different kind of sport. I enjoy it and I might get used to it.”