After a tyre pressure problem was quickly solved very early on in the race, the Inter Europol Competition team was doing well in the 12 Hours of Sebring… till the fourth hour. The #51 Oreca LMP2 of Kuba Smiechowski, Matt Bell and Naveen Rao just moved to the top of the LMP2 class, when Smiechowski spun out at turn 17. A short 40 minutes later the #51 was back on track. Looking slightly different as the rear end, the front end and the engine cover were all changed. The broken rear left suspension was replaced. But the lost time could not be recovered. Half way the race, the #51 was in 29th place, but the team pushed on. At the end of the 12 hours of Sebring, Smiechowski, Bell and Rao finished 4th in class and 17th overall.
Naveen Rao: “Disappointing day but I think we actually came with a car with a driver line-up where we could have challenged for the win. I think number two was very much there for us and number one would have been possible. For me it was a great for weekend in P2 and thanks to the team for putting together a great car and keeping it going the whole race.”
Kuba Smiechowski: “Obviously it was a bad race for me personally. I hit the wall totally unnecessary but all the mechanics did an amazing job to get the car back to the track so quickly. Naveen and Matt also had the pace today to maybe even fight for the win. Big thanks to them.”
Matt Bell: “It was great being back here doing the 12 hours of Sebring. It was my second one of the biggest race in the world, so it is always enjoyable. The car was a little tricky but we managed it very well. We worked our way to the lead and an unfortunate error from Kuba put us out of contention. But the guys did a great job in great racing spirit to get the car quickly back on the track. Our ultimate pace proved to be pretty close to the front and could have put us in the fight for the lead at least.”