P4, best of the rest for the #13 / troubled race for the #14

For the first time in the couple of years that the Inter Europol Competition team races with two LMP3, the two cars started from the same row. Even though it was, after a rather disappointing qualifying session, only from row 17. The finish of the race was another story for the #13. Hippe, while in second place, had to come in for a splash and dash on the last lap and had to be content with 4th while the #14 finished, after two unplanned pit stops, 15th.

           

The first hour of the race saw two safety car periods and the first of the two unplanned stops for the #14. Hendrik Still came in with a shifting problem which was quickly solved. In the meantime, the #13 ran solidly and steadily moved up to 7th in LMP3 with a short stop for fuel only. At the beginning of the second hour the #14, which also had to take a drive through penalty for a jumpstart, was 17th in LMP3.

 

After his stint Still came in and handed the car over to Paul Scheuschner, who went out on new tyres and with a full tank of fuel. But Scheuschner came back in with the same shifting problem as Still. Scheuschner sat in the car while the team changed the shift activator. It was the second time in three years it had to be changed. After the repair, the #14 fell back to 18th place.

 

During the third safety car period, Smiechowski in the #13 car was in fifth place and came in for tyres and fuel and the driver change. Martin Hippe took over with just over two hours to go. He came back into the race in fifth place.

 

 

 

 

And yet another safety car period followed with 1h44min to go. It saw the #13 in fourth position and the #14 in 17th. Hippe kept pushing and moved up to third. In the meantime, the #14 car climbed up to 15th position.

 

With an hour to go local driver Luca Demarchi took over from Paul Scheuschner for the last stint. Hippe came in for the last pit stop for fuel only. With eight minutes to go the leader in the LMP3, the #2 United Autosports, left the track and spun and Hippe was now fighting for the lead with the #11 EuroInternational car. But on the last lap Hippe had to come in for a splash and dash which caused him to lose a podium position and fell back to fourth.

 

In the meantime, Demarchi saw himself in the gravel after locking the back with only two laps to go. The marshals pushed the car back on the track for Demarchi to finish the race in 15th place in LMP3.

 

# 13 Kuba Smiechowski: “My start was a neutral one. I tried to stay out of trouble and waited a bit before I started pushing. I wanted the situation in front of me to stabilize. A lot of things were happening around me on the track. It was a few times that I got close to getting taken out by other cars. In all there were too many crashes and it was all a bit too close for comfort. I had lots of oil on my windshield which did not make my driving easier. But I kept pushing and staying out of trouble, which was tough as cars were crashing in front of me. All in all, a messy race but I stayed out of trouble. I am a happy driver except for losing the podium.”

 

#14 Paul Scheuschner: “I really enjoyed racing here even though there were many FCY and safety car periods and we were a bit unfortunate here and there. I was also a bit unfortunate as a Porsche hit me under breaking and because of that I lost 15 seconds in one lap. But I was happy with my pace. Today, we were not able to finish in a good position but the team in and working on the car is very good and I look forward to the next race.”

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