Inter Europol Competition secures maiden Michelin Le Mans Cup podium!

13 April 2024

Entering its second season of the Michelin Le Mans Cup, Inter Europol Competition today (13 April 2024) secured its first podium position in the championship courtesy of a fine drive from Alex Bukhantsov and Rik Koen from ninth position on the grid to third at the chequered flag aboard their #34 Ligier JS P320.

Qualifying took place earlier, which was a busy day for the team. The team fielded six cars across three championships in the opening rounds of the Le Mans Cup, European Le Mans Series, and Ligier European Series. As per regulation, Alex was charged with qualifying as the team’s bronze driver but was soon on the move once the race got underway.

Three positions were gained on the opening lap, and thankfully, there was no repeat of our debut in the series a year ago, with both the #34 and the #43 driven by Le Mans Cup debutant Tim Creswick, surviving the opening tours. A few laps later, Alex took fifth position with a nice pass on the #87.

It soon got a whole lot better, as two rivals ahead tanged, putting Alex second behind the race leader. With his minimum drive time complete, he pitted with Rik jumping in for his more extended stint at the wheel of the Ligier.

Once the stops had all shaken out, Rik ran third, and then in the later stages, following a safety car period, he was forced to switch his attention to the #87 coming back at him. Rik was cool and calm and resisted the attack to finish a fine third, ten seconds behind the race winner, while also making some LMP3 racing history for Inter Europol Competition.

Tim Creswick, meanwhile, had also got off to a good start in the #43 Ligier, but a spin following an attempted pass on lap six dropped to 22nd position. From that point, it was damage limitation for both Tim and teammate Sebastian Gravlund.

Tim made gains ahead of his pitstop to 17th, with Sebastian soon also on the move. As the laps ticked by, he made pass after pass, finally securing tenth position and a championship point in the closing laps. It was a strong showing that bodes well for the upcoming races.

“Alex did an awesome job to move from P9 to P2 in his stint,” Rik stated. “The stops were good, but we lost one place, which was ok, as it was great to fight so hard with the car ahead of me in second place while also looking behind.

“We had some understeer in the car, but it felt pretty good regardless. Near the end, we had a safety car, and then it was a case of holding my position when it went green again. It was a good race and an awesome job from the team!”

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