It was team spirit and stamina of the Inter Europol Competition team that got the Ligier LMP2 #34 with drivers Kuba Smiechowski, Rene Binder and Matevos Isaakyan over the finish line. A lot of hard work was put in from all in the team. After the start in a very strong field of 24 LMP2s, the team needed extra time during the earlier pit stops to adjust the balance of the car. As a result, the car was in steady 16thposition till five in the morning. Then luck ran out and the team had to deal with three technical problems which added extra pit stops and extra effort to the teams’ schedule. The fuel filter, the alternator and the starter motor were all changed. After all that, the Ligier LMP2 #34 ran very reliable. Smiechowski took the car over the finish line in (provisional) 17th position in LMP2 (41st overall).
Rene Binder: “The Saturday started difficult, but improved, and stayed good during the night but in the morning different problems surfaced. Till 5am it was all fine. Then we needed three extra stops to repair the car and getting it back on track. We are happy to have finished the race, even though we were a long way away from the other LMP2s. The team worked really hard and in great spirit. They kept on pushing knowing no good result was on the cards.”
Matevos Isaakyan: “Lady luck wasn’t on our side today. The warm-up was nice and we were quite good in the mixed conditions, bit dry, bit wet. Rain was forecasted which was exciting, but it turned out to be a full dry race, which was a bit disappointing. In the beginning the car was really tough to drive and we had to change a lot of things. Then it started working well and we found our place around 16th position. In my second stint during the night after my first pit stop, the car was getting worse again and repairs had to be done. Once they were done, the car was very nice to drive. Even breath taking. And we were able to push again, but unfortunately we lost too much time to make up some places.”
Kuba Smiechowski: “Obviously a tougher race than we hoped for but we did finish and that is important to me. All of us never gave up. The mechanics, and everybody else in the team. We knew we would not have a good result but we kept on pushing. I am very proud of the crew and very thankful for all the work they did. They prepared the car, they work long hours, I sleep, but they keep on working. I have a lot of respect for their stamina and their dedication.”
Wojciech Smiechowski (CEO of Inter Europol and title sponsor of the team): “I am disappointed but happy at the same time. Happy that this year our driver line-up is very equal, they all had similar in lap times. Very different from last year. Disappointed, obviously because of the result. The race is so unpredictable. Our target was between 10 and 15. But for 10th, the car is just too weak. We were quick on the straight line, but in the corners this car is much more difficult than the ORECA. Both last year and this year we did the same number of laps: 325. We know our target next year.”