From the same organisers as the Supercar Challenge, the newly formed GT & Prototype Challenge was at Spa this weekend and it was the second time that the Inter Europol Competition team took part in this championship. Both one hour races brought result for the team; Kuba Smiechowski (#203) finshed second in both races while Philippe Bourgois (#204) reached his personal goal on Saturday to finish third, but just missed the podium on Sunday.
The team came with three drivers for two cars. Kuba Smiechowski for in the #203 and Martin Hippe and Philippe Bourgois would share the driving time in the #204 LMP3.
Martin Hippe was looking forward to get the know the circuit from a different point of view; not as engineer but as a driver. But on Friday he very unfortunately sprained his ankle and had to go home. He’ll now have to wait till September when he will be back at Spa when the team participates in the ELMS.
Qualifying went good for the Smiechowski and Bourgois. Bourgois knows the Spa circuit very well from many races in many different race cars, a.o. a GP2 car with the Boss GP series and participating in three 24-hours races.
Smiechowski qualified second for the first race with 2m19s154 and with the second fastest lap time 2m19s244 was on pole in race 2. Bourgois put his car fourth on the grid (third in LMP3) with 2m22s105 in race 1. In the second race he will start from fifth (fourth in LMP3).
Race 1 result: Smiechowski second and Bourgois third.
Kuba Smiechowski: “I had a difficult time in the car. The set up was very uncomfortable, the car was slipping and sliding. I wanted to fight with Hauser (winner in the #222 LMP3) but it was just so difficult to drive to car. But I will be more optimistic tomorrow with a different set up and hopefully another podium”.
Philippe Bourgois: “The car felt good and after the start I wanted to overtake the Ginetta. But it was faster on the straight so I took my time to get past. I reached my personal goal, which was to finish P3 overall. I really enjoyed racing the LMP3, it is less physical than the GP2 and much more comfortable to drive. I was not very tired after the race which I usually am in the GP2. I had a good time and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Race 2 result: Smiechowski second and Bourgois fourth.
Kuba Smiechowski: “My car was so much better than yesterday. I could fight with the Ginetta but unfortunately that car is so much faster that I could not overtake it, even though I was on its tail all the time. The race was more exciting than yesterday as well, so all in all not a bad day and today I am happy to be second.”
Philippe Bourgois: “I had a really good race today. After the safety car and the pit stop I was in third position. I could stay in the rhythm of the top three cars. But then I made a silly little mistake and spun in turn one about four laps before the end of the race, so I just had to be satisfied with fourth place. But I am happy and proud to have raced the way I did and I had a great time in the car. I do like the LPM3, it is a fantastic car to drive.”
Next race: 23 – 25 June VdeV Dijon