In the Asian Le Mans Series race at Fuji, Japan, Kuba Smiechowski started the Inter Europol Competition LMP3 #13 from 5thplace. Throughout the race there was a really fair fight with the #3 of United Autosports for first place. While Smiechowski and Hippe led most of the race, a safety car period with only 30 minutes to go, lost Hippe the lead to the #3 car and the team had to be happy with second place. The team is still leading the championship.
After qualifying in 7thposition Kuba Smiechowski and Martin Hippe actually started from 5th, as two cars got a penalty which moved them down the grid. After the start Smiechowski moved up to third place. With 45 minutes of the race done, it started raining. Smiechowski came in for fuel and rain tyres just before most of the other LMP3s did. A very good pit stop strategy from the engineers as he moved up to first.
In the second hour, the battle for first place began with the #3 car of United Autosports and continued into the third hour, when Smiechowski handed the #13 LMP3 to Martin Hippe. With a little over an hour to go, Hippe came in for fuel and changed onto slicks, still in first place.
The last hour saw an unfortunate safety car period for the team. After the race went green, Hippe lost the lead to #3 United Autosports as he got caught in traffic with the slower GTs and the team had to be happy with second place.
Martin Hippe:“What a race! Really challenging in traffic and with the slower GT cars. I enjoyed the fight with the United car. We were a bit unlucky in the end as it was hard to find a way through the GT cars after the restart of the safety car period. I am happy with the result for the championship, but a win this weekend would have been really sweet. But we are still leading the championship. A great job done by our engineers and the whole team of mechanics.”
Kuba Smiechowski:“I am pretty happy we finished second but of course also a bit disappointed at the same time. We led most of the race and because of the safety car we could not extend our lead until the chequered flag. We had two really well decided pit stops with changing to rain tyres first and back to slicks later. We extended our lead in the championship, so with this happy thought we look forward to Buriram.”