Silverstone: Speedy Racing Team Sebah race report
An almost perfect weekend ! The weather was mild all weekend long in England for the last round of the 2009 Le Mans Series at Silverstone, and even though clouds appeared in the sky on Sunday morning, they didn't prevent SPEEDY RACING TEAM SEBAH ...
An almost perfect weekend !
The weather was mild all weekend long in England for the last round of the 2009 Le Mans Series at Silverstone, and even though clouds appeared in the sky on Sunday morning, they didn't prevent SPEEDY RACING TEAM SEBAH from standing on the podium for both of their cars.
The first free practice session started smoothly for the #13 Lola-Aston Martin LMP1, driven by Andrea Belicchi, Marcel Fassler and Nicolas Prost, even though a broken damper interrupted their set-up work schedule. After the team quickly changed the faulty part, the beautiful British car was soon back on track to find the best race set- up. Andrea Belicchi set the fourth fastest time in qualifying, which demonstrated that SPEEDY RACING TEAM SEBAH worked in the right way for the race. Moreover, the crew posted the second fastest lap during the warm-up, and confirmed the car's potential.
Andrea Belicchi had a good start to the race and fought for the lead with two of the works Lola-Aston Martins, as well as the pole-sitting Oreca car. These four cars took turns in the lead one after the other, depending on the pit-stops. Nicolas Prost then took over in the #13 and drove a faultless double-stint. He took the lead when he boldly passed the #007 Lola-Aston Martin into Stowe Corner. Emerging from the pitlane in fourth place after a pit-stop to hand over to Marcel Fassler, it was not long before the #13 car was back in the lead of the race. Marcel consolidated the lead with his fast pace, but unfortunately the team were instructed by the race officials to make an unscheduled pit-stop to replace a damaged bodywork louver a few laps before crossing the finish line. Despite a short pit-stop to carry out the repair, the car finished second, whereas a great victory had been within reach.
Andrea Belicchi: "We could finish the race and we would have won it without this small problem. We have been fast all along the season. Second place is a good result, and I am happy."
Marcel Fassler: "I am disappointed because I think that we could have won this race, but second place is still a good result. We demonstrated that, had the car been reliable, we would have clinched a good result at each race. I would have settled for second place at the beginning of the weekend, but as a race driver, I always want more! Especially because the victory was so close."
Nicolas Prost: "We had a great race with a strong performance from all the drivers and we lose the race because of a technicality. This is life, but it is hard to swallow at the moment. The car and the Michelin tires were great, as well as our strategy. We did better than we were expecting because our pace during the free practice and qualifying sessions has not been good. We were there at the end."
Nice and steady wins the race! That could be the motto of the team's #33 Lola-Judd LMP2, which ran trouble free during the three-day race meeting. Through free practice, Jonny Kane, Benjamin Leuenberger and Xavier Pompidou worked steadily towards finding the best set-up for the race and didn't try to chase one-off laptime glory despite the great potential of the car.
Jonny Kane put in a stunning lap in qualifying to take second place on the starting grid. It was an ideal position from which to try to clinch a well-deserved victory for the whole SPEEDY RACING TEAM SEBAH.
Jonny kept his position at the start of the race and he widened the gap little by little between himself and his closest rival behind. The British driver took the lead of the LMP2 class after 32 laps and continued to lead until the end of his second stint. Benjamin Leuenberger then got into the Lola-Judd and by being fast and consistent, he kept the lead throughout his two stints. Taking over for the final part of the race, Xavier Pompidou only had to stoke the car home to the chequered flag and take a long awaited and well-deserved victory.
The #33 Lola-Judd also won the Michelin Green X Challenge at Silverstone. With two wins and two second places in the Michelin Green X classification throughout the season, the #33 Lola-Judd managed a huge 36-point lead over its closest rival. It was the icing on the cake for the #33 car, which could not have put a better end to the season.
Jonny Kane: "I am delighted with the result of the race. The car was good, as were the Michelin tires, so we could double-stint easily. We should have won the first race at Barcelona and the previous one at Nurburgring. It's great that we've finally won a race now, thanks to a fantastic team and drivers' effort."
Benjamin Leuenberger: "This is a good result for Speedy Racing Team Sebah today. We had a highly competitive car and tires which were still consistent at the end of the second stint. I think that it has been the key to success and I am very happy."
Xavier Pompidou: "I am very happy with this team result. We have demonstrated our potential since the beginning of the season but we could not capitalise on it. I had two flawless stints and we were able to run with a more conservative pace from mid- race."
Bart Hayden, Team-manager: "It finally happened! We have tried so hard to win throughout the season but we have been struck by bad luck a number of times. It is fantastic to win today with the LMP2 car and to finish second with the LMP1 car. This is an almost perfect weekend, which rewards a true team effort."
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