Six hours and many safety car periods later the #22 LMP3 finished first and the #33 LMP3 second overall in the VdeV race at Portimao (Portugal). The first hour of the race was specially thrilling for the team. In the #22 car Hendrik Still (GER) started 4th in class and 6th overall while the #33 stood with Xavier Michel (FRA) behind the wheel 7th in class and 10th overall on the grid. At the start Still flew passed four cars and by the second lap he was 2nd overall.
After Still had come in during the first safety car period he steadily moved up and was on top of the leaderboard after the first hour. The #22 car stayed there most of the race.
Xavier Michel in #33 car found his rhythm after loosing a couple of places at the start but soon moved back up in the ranks and went into the second hour as 8th in class (15th overall). He then moved to third overall but when he handed the car to Paul Scheuschner (GER) he was 8th overall. The car showed some small problems which did not make the handling easy for all three drivers.
Peter Elkmann (GER) was now behind the wheel of the #22 and with three hours to go was leading the field, while the #33 with Paul Scheuschner was 6th in class and 8th overall and was doing consistent laptimes.
With two hours to go the #22 was still leading the field, while the #33 moved to 5th in class and 7th overall. During another safety car period the last two drivers went in the car to finish the race; Kuba Smiechowski (POL) in the #22 and Alex Müller (GER) in the #33.
Going into the last hour the #22 Ligier LMP3 still led and the #33 was third overall. The last couple of handicap drive-throughs were used to get both cars out of the traffic. The Inter Europol Competition team finished the race first and second overall. A very happy team indeed!
Hendrik Still: “I had a really good start and could overtake four cars very quickly. I led till the first safety car period when my engineer Riccardo Zani was very clever to give me a fuel stop. It got me away from the traffic. A very clever tactical decision. I lost little time and used the stint to get as much time and distance between me and the others. Peter (Elkmann) did a good job to keep the same distance as I had. The set up of the car for the distance we were running was great and we made very little changes. I am a very happy driver with very happy teammates.”
Peter Elkmann: “It was a pleasure to be with the team and a big thank you to all those who made this possible. The race was good but the safety car periods in my stint just way too long. I would have liked to be able to do more fast laps. The car was very well prepared and a pleasure to drive.”
Kuba Smiechowski: ”We won! What a great race eventhough after the first hour I got some problems with the front tyres. Not sure what it was but they caused bad vibrations which made it hard to drive. Then it got dark and I couldn’t see much, also because of a very dirty windshield. The last couple of laps I slowed down a bit, which was possible because of the gap. I just wanted to bring the car home in one piece. Which I did. Happy team, job well done.”
Fastest lap #22: Kuba Smiechowski 1m42s175
Fastest lap #33: Alex Müller 1m42s280