A great race for both Ligier LMP3 of the Inter Europol Competition team in the third round of the European Le Mans Series at the Red Bull Ring. Kuba Smiechowski and Martin Hippe started from 12thplace and finished on the podium in third place. Started from the back of the grid, the #14 car with Paul Scheuschner, Luca Demarchi and Guglielmo Belotti finished eleventh. For both cars it was their best ELMS result this year. Except for a few drops of rain, the race went without the terrible weather as predicted. Smiechowski and Hippe are now third in the drivers’ championship as is the Inter Europol Competition team in the teams’ standing.
Both cars of the Inter Europol Competition team had a good start. Smiechowski in the #13 LMP3 moved up to 8thand within the first hour to 6th. The #14 LMP3 piloted by Scheuschner had to start from the back of the grid due to track limit infringements in the free practice session. After his stint Scheuschner handed the car over to his regular teammate Luca Demarchi.
The second hour of the race saw Smiechowski moving up to third and Demarchi to 13th. Just before half way of the race Hippe took over from Smiechowski. He moved up to second.
The terrible weather as predicted with lots of rain and thunder did not happen, though the occasional drop of rain fell.
Belotti took the last stint in the #14 taking over 12thplace from Demarchi. Hippe was in second place when he came in for fuel. He stayed in second but just before the end had to let the #7 of Ecurie Ecosse Nielsen pass to finish the race in third place. Belotti brought the #14 home in 11thplace.
Kuba Smiechowski: “The start was good and I could maintain a good pace to come closer to the cars in front of me. Because of the crew doing such a great job, I gained one place during the first pit stop. But during the whole race our team was very good. The strategy was good as were Martin and I. I was hoping to win, but at least we showed everybody that we are up there.”
Martin Hippe:“Kuba brought the car from 12thto 6thplace in the first hour. Great job done by my teammate. In my two stints I had lot of traffic and lost my second position when an LMP2 overtook me as I couldn’t close the door. Overall I am happy with the result. It was a faultless race from all our drivers and a great performance by the team. We were just missing the last bit of luck.”
Michael Keese(technical director): “I am very proud of our team and that I am able to say that we in the top three of the series. I am even more happy to be able to say this, while the quality of the series is extremely high. Not only our drivers did a great job but also the team did very well, specially during the pitstops.”
Next race for the team: ELMS Silverstone (UK) 17 – 18 August