Strakka takes Hungaroring in LM P2 walkover

Strakka takes Hungaroring in LM P2 walkover

It was a day of historic results for the Le Mans Series: Danny Watts, Jonny Kane and Nick Leventis took the victory at Hungaroring for Strakka Racing in an HPD ARX-01c, the first ever for an LM P2 car in series history, having claimed the...

It was a day of historic results for the Le Mans Series: Danny Watts, Jonny Kane and Nick Leventis took the victory at Hungaroring for Strakka Racing in an HPD ARX-01c, the first ever for an LM P2 car in series history, having claimed the first-ever overall pole position for LM P2 earlier in the day.

#42 Strakka Racing HPD ARX - 01: Nick Leventis, Danny Watts, Jonny Kane.
Photo by DPPI.

And it wasn't just a an LM P2 victory: P2 cars filled the podium as well as the next three positions, taking the first six positions overall after the top LM P1 contenders all encountered trouble.

From the start, it looked like Strakka's good fortunes would be limited to the pole position, as Andrea Bellichi in the #13 Rebellion Racing Lola charged past at the startm followed by the ORECA Peugeot 908 HDi FAP. In spite of a top speed advantage of more than 10 km/h -- 273 km/h to 261 km/h for the #13 Rebellion -- the ORECA Peugeot failed to make an impression on the Lola in the early going, maintaining the lead until the French team slipped by during the first round of pit stops as Rebellion made a driver change.

Jean-Christophe Bouillon still maintained contact with the Peugeot after the stops, but before two hours had passed, the #13 was in the pits for mechanical repairs, and the sister #12 Lola had dropped back after Nicolas Prost got into an accident.

With both Rebellions out of the picture, Signature's Lola Aston Martin was handed the task of challenging the leading ORECA Peugeot, but an alternator failure put an end to that.

It might have been a cakewalk for the ORECA, but the gremlins that had plagued the Peugeot squads at the Le Mans 24H returned for an encore at the Hungaroring. The Peugeot came into the pits for a lengthy stop for repairs, came back out, but finally retired once the team determined that they could not solve the problem.

With all and sundry LM P1 cars now fallen by the wayside, the path was cleared for Strakka to take over the lead, and Strakka took the victory by a comfortable one-lap margin over the Quifel-ASM Ginetta-Zytek, piloted by Olivier Pla and Miguel Amaral, who in turn had a one-lap margin over the OAK Racing Pescarolo Judd of Michel Lahaye and Jean Nicolet.

The top LM P1 finisher was the Mansell Beachdean Ginetta Zytek of Leo Mansell and Greg Mansell, seven laps adrift of the Strakka HPD.

#77 Team Felbermayr Proton Porsche 997 GT3 RSR: Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz.
Photo by DPPI.

The LM GT2 winner, the Team Felbermayr Proton Porsche GT3 RSR piloted byy Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz, took a tenth overall as well with the decimation of the LM P1 ranks. The class victory was nothing but hard-fought, though, with the top four cars in class all finishing on the same lap after 1000 km of racing.

"That was our toughest race this season," said Lietz. "The Ferraris made our lives difficult right to the finish. I only managed to pull away slightly in the last lap. This victory is all the more valuable because our starting position down the grid wasn't that great."

Porsche could take comfort not only in Team Felbermayr's victory, but also a third in class for IMSA Performance Matmut. However, the IMSA entry could not challenge the second-placed CSR Racing Ferrari F430 of Richard Narac and Pierre Pilet.

The race was a disappointment for the AF Corse team, none of whose three entries could do better than fourth in class. The best of the three was the #95 of Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander and Jean Alesi: Vilander was catching up to the third-placed Porsche in the closing laps but ran out of time to mount an attack for the third place.

The winning LM GT1 entry was the Larbre Competition Saleen S7-R, piloted by Gabriele Gardel, Patrice Goueslard and Fernando Rees. The trio finished 21st overall, five laps behind the LM GT2-winning Porsche.

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Series ELMS