A second place was the result for the #13 LMP3 crew of Oliveira, Pino and Crews in the first round of the European Le Mans Series. Engine problems caused the car not to be able to cross the finish line in the first place, which the car held for most of the race.
The start of the race showed the great pace of Charles Crews in the #13, as he moved from 11th to second in one and a half laps. They held the number one place for most of the race but had to be happy with second place at the end. The #43 LMP2 did well at the start by Scherer, as he moved from 9th to fifth within the first five laps. The crew of Fittipaldi, Scherer and Heinemeier Hanson raced as high as second place. However, luck was not on their side with a full course yellow. The #43 had a problem with the front left tyre, which damaged the nose. After changing the nose, a full course yellow was announced when pulling out. Result; they lost a lap. The #43 had to be content with 11th place. The #14 got a drive-through penalty for contact with another car at the beginning of the race. They held their own between 10th and 7th place. They finished a solid 9th.
Quotes from the drivers:
#13 Charles Crews: “The car was the best we had all weekend. We took the lead straight after the start and kept it there. Unfortunate, due to the many safety car periods in the first hour, we could not build a bigger gap. In the end, the gap was just not enough to hold on to the first place. Disappointing, but we showed what we have and what we will be capable of in the next races.”
#13 Guilherme Oliveira: ”We knew we would struggle a bit with the qualifying pace, but I had no problem with this in the race. It was a solid stint, even a bit conservative, but I wanted to bring the car back safely for Pino for his last stint. It was not the finish we deserved.”
#13 Nico Pino: ”I am happy with the podium finish. A tough race as we had some engine issues. My teammates did everything right, and there is more to come from us in the future, and we will have a good time this season.”
#14 Noam Abramczyk: “The race was a bit hard as we had to catch up after our drive-through penalty. But we had a good pace, so that is good.”
#14 James Dayson: “It was a pretty good drive, and I wish my pace would have been quicker. But happy to have brought the car home in one piece. Not the result we hoped for, but better next time.”
#14 Mateusz Kaprzyk: “Qualifying was not so bad, and the car the mechanics gave me was perfect and fast. The start of the race was hard for me, as I had to be very careful as there was much action in the field. Then I had some contact with a car when I tried to overtake, and I got a drive-through penalty. Then I was trying to gain as many places as possible before giving the car to James.”
#43 Pietro Fittipaldi: “Unfortunate result due to an unfortunate full course yellow. We were well prepared and had a good pace. I had the same issue as Fabio and had to nurse the car home. The team did a very nice job, and we need to understand what went wrong, but I am sure we will be back stronger in Imola.”
#43 David Heinemeier Hansson: “I was pretty happy with my pace. I think I was out amongst the wrong set of drivers, as most teams started with their silver driver. A shame we were already out of contention when I got in the car; that full course yellow came at the worst possible time. Overall we are quite happy.”
#43 Fabio Scherer: “The weekend had good potential; we worked hard and managed to improve a lot. For me, a new car and new teammates. The team made a massive step forward from the unplanned race with them in Sebring. Sadly in qualifying, we got stopped by a red flag, so we could not improve our place. Sadly, the race was not as we deserved, but that makes me look forward to the next one, as we have the potential to go much better in the ELMS and as well as for Le Mans.”
Sascha Fassbender (Team manager): “We had a very good team performance. We were lucky and not so lucky. The #43 and the #14 came in for a long stop, and in the lap afterwards, it was full course yellow. For the #13, this was good as we came back where we could fight for the win. All in all, we are happy, and a big thank you to all team members and drivers and are looking forward to Imola.”