The grand stand seats of the TT circuit Assen were empty on Friday, nearly full on Saturday and very full on Sunday. On Friday in qualifying the Inter Europol Competition team just missed pole by 0.030 seconds for race 1. However Kuba Smiechowski set the second fastest time so Christopher Dreyspring could start from pole in race 2. Race 1 ended with a big bang and a lot of smoke and no more engine, but Smiechowski and Dreyspring still finished third. Race 2 showed the potential of Dreyspring and Smiechowski in the Ligier LMP3. They won the race.
Race 1 Saturday 5 August
Smiechowski started the 60-minute race from second place and immediately starting pushing the Hauser brothers in #222 LMP3 who started from pole. He could finally overtake the car on lap 8. He then set the fastest lap of the race 1m35s183 which was even quicker than his qualifying time (1m35s782). During the pit window Dreyspring got in the car in a quick and neat driver change and also proceded to set some really fast lap times. Then disaster struck. With a big bang the engine blew up and the car disappeared in a big white cloud of smoke. No fire ensued, Dreyspring calmly left the car unhurt. Smiechowski and Dreyspring still took third place. Race 2 will be with run with a new engine.
Race 2 Sunday 6 August
For the 45-minute race 2 it was Dreyspring who took the start from pole. He pushed ahead to create a gap for an easier driver change. The engine was running smooth but the team was still keeping its fingers crossed. Like in race 1 the driver change went smooth and Smiechowski took over. He again set the fastest lap of the race in lap 18 (1m34s332) and finished the race to take the highest step of the podium.
The team is still leading the GT&Prototype Challenge.
Kuba Smiechowski: “My word for the weekend is ‘bittersweet’. Obviously today was sweet as we won, yesterday was bitter as when the engine blew up we were leading the race. I have to say a really big big thank you to the team for all the work they have put in this weekend to change the engine and then to get us on the podium again.”
Christopher Dreyspring: “Yesterday we went out with a bang, today we came back with another kind of bang; a win! Yesterday I was disappointed but today was exciting. There was no warning went the engine went, nothing, just … bang. Today I felt comfortable in the car and after the start I could pull a gap. Just a little understeer, but no problem. When I handed the car to Kuba we were leading comfortably. Kuba brought the car home safely to win the race. Also a big thank you from me to all the mechanics.”
Next race for the Inter Europol Competition team: ELMS Paul Ricard 25 – 27 August 2017