Having qualified in third place for third race of the Asian Le Mans Series, Kuba Smiechowski took the start at the Chang International Circuit at Buriram, Thailand. Smiechowski and Martin Hippe were leading the race when race direction told the team to tighten the slightly loose left rear bullet during the next pit stop. Due to the extra repair time the team lost the lead and had to be satisfied with a second place. However, the team is still leading the championship.
During the first hour Smiechowski spun as a result of being touched by an LMP2 but could continue without loss of third position. Just into the second hour Smiechowski came in for fuel and new tyres to continue in third place.
In the second hour, the best battle on track was between #2 of United Autosports and Smiechowski. Smiechowski won this battle and led LMP3 class into the third hour.
When race direction saw that the left rear bullet was a bit loose, they asked it to be tightened during the second pit stop. When Hippe took over from Smiechowski in the second pit stop, the team lost the lead because of the extra repair time.
Smiechowskisaid after his stint: “The heat was getting a bit of a problem for me though it was not as bad as I thought it would be. An LMP2 touched me and I spun and it cost me some time as I had trouble restarting the engine. The pit stop was much longer than planned as we needed to tighten the left rear bullet which probably had come a bit loose when I got hit. But we have a really good pace.”
In the third hour Hippe was looking at about a one minute gap to the lead. But he kept pushing and was still in second place in last hour. At the end of the race there was only a 24.3 second gap. Smiechowski/Hippe finished second and are still leading the championship.
Martin Hippe: “It is a bitter sweet second place. The crew gave us a perfect car, the pace was good, the heat in the car was bearable eventhough I had a faulty drinking system during my first hour. All was looking good for another win. But this is motorsport, so you just never know. But we are still leading, so that is good.”
Sascha Fassbender(Team Manager): “It was an exhausting race for the drivers, the crew and all. We did prepare a perfect car and were a just little unlucky with the repair we had to do. But it gives us even more motivation to do really well in the last race at Sepang (Malaysia).”
Next race: Sepang, Malaysia 22 – 24 February 2019