This European Le Mans Series weekend at Monza gave the Inter Europol Competition the best and the worst in motorsports. The worst being Léo Roussel crashing in the second free practice and being taken to the hospital. He will undergo an operation this coming Monday. We all wish him a speedy recovery! The best was Nigel Moore and Martin Hippe in the number #13 LMP3 scoring the seventh podium in a row in the #13 car, finishing second in class.
After Roussel’s crash the team was able to rebuild the #34 LMP2 really quickly in time for qualifying. Clos put the car on 18thplace on the grid. Moore qualified the LMP3 #13 in 8thplace while Dejonghe, in his first ELMS race, put the #14 in 9thplace.
At the start of the race Smiechowski moved up to 15th, Dejonghe up to 8th, while Hippe was slowed down in the second chicane and fell back to 13thplace.
Throughout the race there were four full course yellow periods, about one every hour. In the first Hippe and Smiechowski were lucky, Dejonghe missed out as he had pitted just before. In the second one behind the safety car, Clos, in the #34 LMP2, got hit by another car which crashed in his front right. He later had to come in to get the damaged repaired.
In the third hour Moore had moved up to 4thplace, Scheuschner was in 10thand the #34 in 12thposition. In the last hour, the team hoped for no more FCY as Moore in the #13 was on full attack for first place. With 26 minutes left Moore moved to number three, then the #17 in second place, crashed out and Moore and Hippe could enjoy their second podium of the year. They are now second in the championship.
Martin Hippe #13 LMP3:“Nothing much special during my stint. The car was a sort of ok and I could maintain my lap times. As always after the start in the chicanes you just have to be lucky and that depends on where you are. And I wasn’t really lucky this time so I lost a couple of places. I also lost a bit during the first safety car period. But so far so good in the championship. Keeping my fingers crossed for Léo.”
Nigel Moore #13 LMP3:“It was a good race but there are still some things we need to get better in the car. And we will get those sorted before Barcelona. We were a bit unlucky with both pit stops, and with the full course yellows. But I am happy with second place in the race and in the championship. My best to Léo and I wish him a quick recovery.”
Sam Dejonghe #14 LMP3:“I had a good start and managed to gain a couple of places. Then the car got a bit more difficult to drive, but I could still get some pace out of it. We were very unlucky with the full course yellows as we lost a lot of time during nearly all of them. All in all, I really enjoyed my first race in the ELMS, and am already thinking hard of how to get better in this competitive field. Get better soon Léo.”
Paul Scheuschner #14 LMP3: “The pit stop was a bit hectic but after that my first stint was good. I was happy with my pace and had luck with not so much traffic. My second stint was a bit more difficult. The front tyres became more slippery and there was some degradation of the brakes, sometime the pedal was soft, sometimes hard, but I managed it as I took a little margin in breaking. The last half hour in the car I found very difficult. But overall P9 is not bad and with a bit more luck in full course yellows, we can finish even higher up. Be strong Léo!”
Kuba Smiechowski #34 LMP2:“A difficult race. In the beginning, I was fighting with the Dallara and probably lent a bit too much on my tyres. Then during the safety car somebody crashed into Dani and destroyed the nose. This blocked the air intake of the cooling system and sent the water temperature sky high. During the last stop it got repaired and the car was fine again. I brought the car home which was important and will now keep my fingers crossed for Leo. We missed him today.”
Dani Clos #34 LMP2:“A one hand a positive race because we manage to solve many of the problems we had in the car and were able to get through difficult situations and get some mileage. On the other hand, also sad because our team mate Léo was not in the car. I am sure we could have done a better job with him there. Now we look forward to Barcelona and hope the best for Leo and wish him good recover. My energy goes to him.”