Saturday 30 September
It was a wet race, a very wet race. The qualifying in the morning was wet, the start of the race was wet and actually, nearly all of Saturday was wet. After an uneventful race under rather difficult circumstances and with one full course yellow, Smiechowski finished 4th in LMP3 (5th overall), while the pairing of Hippe/ Fredriksson finished 5th in LMP3 and 9th overall.
Sunday 1 October
A watery sun and a nice and crispy day at Spa. What a difference a day can make here at Spa. And also, a much different result. Smiechowski finished first in LMP3 (2nd overall) and Hippe/Fredriksson third in LMP3 (4th overall).
Kuba Smiechowski (#203) started from third (4th overall) in LMP3 behind the two Renault RS01. Martin Hippe and Pontus Fredriksson (#204) started from 6th in LMP3 (10th overall).
The LMP3 class in this championship knows two very different kind of cars; the Renault RS01 and the Ligier LMP3. They are difficult to compare in a.o. horsepower and parts material. For example, the Renault RS01 has carbon brakes and about 140 hp more.
On the first lap Smiechoswki moved up one place, while Hippe, who took the start in the #204, moved up to 5th in LMP3. In lap 6 the runner up in the championship Hauser/Hauser (LMP3 #222) passed Smiechowski while Hippe stayed in position. The opening of the pitstop window came at the same time as the one and only full course yellow. All cars came in at the same time, a bit of a chaotic scene with cars coming and going. Hippe went out of the car, Fredriksson got in. The rain had become a drizzle. Smiechowski also came in but remained in the car during the mandatory pitstop (a minimum of one minute stationary). After the pitstop Smiechowski was still in 4th place in LMP3. Fredriksson’s laptimes improved steadily as he felt more comfortable in the car. These were difficult circumstances for the young driver for his first race in an LPM3. But he moved up to 9th and crossed the finish line in that position. Smiechoski finished 4th.
Pontus Fredriksson: “This was fun! And I brought the car home in one piece. I started to feel more confident in the car and got to know how it works. Though difficult to see with all the spray, in every lap I got to push my boundaries and felt more and more comfortable in the car.”
Sunday 1 October Race 2
Smiechowski started from 3rd in LMP3 (4th overall) and Hippe/Fredriksson from 5th LMP3 (8th overall). Straight after the start Smiechowski moved up to second place in LMP3 just before a full course yellow occurred. Hippe moved up to 7th fourth in LMP3 just after the FCY. During the pitstop window Hippe handed the car to Fredriksson for his first dry race. After the pitstop Smiechowski moved up to first overall and Fredriksson was 4th on LMP3. His laptimes were improving with every lap and he was showing his ease in the car. With 10 minutes to go Smiechowski was leading overall while Hippe/Fredriksson car was third in LMP3. Just one lap before the end the #290 Ginetta passed Smiechowski to take first overall. In LMP3 Smiechowski past the finish line first and Fredriksson third.
Kuba Smiechowski: “I tried to push to stay as close as possible to the RS01 and the CN but they were pulling away. But overall I gained a position. My restart after the full course yellow was not the best but I managed to keep the #222 Hauser and Hauser car behind me. The car was good, the set up was fine and I found my rhythm. After the pitstop I was P1 and try to stay in front but the CN behind me was just faster on the straight. He is lighter and breaking later. Impossible to keep him behind so I had to let him go. But still happy with the result today.”
Pontus Fredriksson: “ I am really happy with my first race in the dry. At the end of my stint I felt really confident and was having fun racing and had a good time learning and understanding the car. It’s a good car. And I am happy to say I will be back with the team in the last race of the VdeV at Estoril. Now I have to the gym to train for my first ever 2-hour stint in a car.”
Next race for the team: Magny Cours VdeV 6-7-8 October 2017