A top-5 finish the 2010 overall classification
The fifth and last round of the 2010 Le Mans Series had its ups and downs and ended in a mixed final result for Tim Greaves, Karim Ojjeh and Thor-Christian Ebbesvik. After a great performance in free practice and qualifying, a race incident put paid to the chances of the no. 41 Zytek 09S. However, Team Bruichladdich held on to its place in the top 5 in the LM P2 category classification.
Before they went to Silverstone, the theatre of the Autosport 1000 kms, Tim Greaves, Karim Ojjeh and Thor-Christian Ebbesvik were resolutely optimistic. Despite uncertain weather with rain an ever-present threat, Team Bruichladdich showed its competitiveness in the three free practice sessions, and was among the four quickest cars in the LM P2 category. "Our Zytek 09S handled very well," said Ojjeh. "A British car racing on home turf fulfilled all our expectations."
The best was still to come. On Saturday afternoon, Ebbesvik put in a stunning lap and qualified the white Zytek in third place, Team Bruichladdich's best-ever result. "The setup was perfect and with a bit less traffic I could have been even closer to the other Zytek entered by the Quifel-ASM Team," smiled the Norwegian driver. It was a very encouraging start before Sunday's race as the team was determined to pip OAK Racing in the LM P2 category, all the more so as the two black and pink French prototypes were sent to the back of the grid. "We kept an eye of their performance, as our aim at Silverstone was to knock them out of third and fourth places in the LM P2 ratings," confirmed Ojjeh.
Ebbesvik took the start of the race on Sunday. During his stint he held on to third place without difficulty. "It wasn't a problem, even if I couldn't get past the Quifel-ASM Team's Zytek as its driver made no mistakes." Team Bruichladdich's direct rivals, the two Pescarolos, quickly fought their way back up into the top 5 in LM P2. Then came Ojjeh's turn to go out and do battle in the Autosport 1000 kms. When he was at the wheel, the incident that ruined Team Bruichladdich's chances took place. "At the start, it was all going well. The car was a bit heavy but okay. Then the Strakka Racing HPD spun just before Luffield and hit the rear of the Zytek just as I was driving round it and that cost us our fourth place." Ojjeh brought the car back to the pits where repairs took a long time and it fell back down the time sheets. "There wasn't a lot of damage but we had to change the panel imposed by the regulations," said a very upset Ojjeh. "In a race like this a long stop is a crippling blow. I was bitterly disappointed."
The OAK Racing Pescarolos took full advantage of the Zytek's long stop to consolidate their places in the race and in the overall classification in LM P2. "Karim did a great job before this incident; he was very quick," said a downcast Ebbesvik. "When I got back in the car it was too late; we'd lost too much time." At the end of the race Greaves got behind the wheel and took the chequered flag in eighth place in LM P2. It was a disappointing result, but Team Bruichladdich still held on to fifth place in the overall general classification in the category. The outcome was the result of a quick and reliable car, plus a trio of drivers who were able to find the right rhythm in a category, whose level of competition did not pardon the slightest error. "For me, it's a fairly realistic result," analysed Ojjeh. "The team did an excellent job and everybody stuck together throughout the season, and we proved that we could score good results with a good package." Ebbesvik added, "the fact that we were able to take the fight to the Quifel-ASM team, the 2009 champions, in our first season is very impressive. The team's given me a lot of help this year and I'd like to say a big thank you to everybody."
Team Bruichladdich is now looking to the 2011 season, which will have new regulations for the LM P2 prototypes.
-source: team bruichladdich