Horag Racing Ends Up Seventh in LMP2 In Saturday's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring SEBRING, Fla., March 17 - The Horag Racing team ran in sixth place in the LMP2 class and in the top 10 overall for the bulk of Saturday's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of...
Horag Racing Ends Up Seventh in LMP2 In Saturday's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
SEBRING, Fla., March 17 - The Horag Racing team ran in sixth place in the LMP2 class and in the top 10 overall for the bulk of Saturday's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, but a persistent electronic problem forced the entry of Didier Theys, Fredy Lienhard and Eric van de Poele to retire just 50 minutes from the end of the race. The Lista and Lista Office-sponsored Lola B05-40 Judd still ended up seventh in LMP2 and 19th overall.
The problem with the car's electronics affected different parts of the car at different times, but the Horag Racing crew and its drivers kept dealing with it until they just couldn't anymore. Although the team especially wanted to finish the race, it came so close that it still only lost one class position at the end.
The problem was evident even at the start. Theys qualified ninth in LMP2 and 12th overall, but he had to start the race on pit road. That was due to a penalty that the team received for not reporting to the grid on time, which was because they were changing the dash at the last minute. The team rebounded from that too, as it only took Theys 15 minutes to get back up to 13th overall, and by the end of hour one he was eighth in class and tenth overall.
By the end of the second hour Lienhard was in sixth place in LMP2 and eighth overall, and the entry stayed in that spot for the next four hours. The paddle shifting system went out of commission fairly early and all three drivers had problems now and then shifting manually too, but they kept on going.
At the halfway point a problem with the power steering couldn't be ignored, and the team lost about 14 minutes in the pits and 11 laps to reset the power steering system. But by the eighth hour the team was back in sixth place in class, tenth overall. Hopes were still high, as many of the other LMP2 cars were also experiencing problems.
The team was still sixth in LMP2, tenth overall, with 60 minutes to go, but 10 minutes later the electronics problem left van de Poele stranded in Turn Nine at 9:15 p.m. and 11 hours and 10 minutes complete.
The team's fastest lap of the race was the 1:53.503 Theys ran on lap 149. The car circled the 17-turn, 3.7-mile road course 307 times in all.
With one race over, another one began immediately, as the team's equipment here - the transporter, race car, pit equipment, and everything else - has to be in New York City by 8 a.m. Monday. From there it will all sail to Liverpool, England. The team will pick it up at the port there and take it back to its headquarters in Switzerland, where it will have just four days to ready the car for the LMS season opener in Monza, Italy April 13-15.
Didier Theys: "All the problems we had were related to some electronic problem. We knew with our lack of testing and our budget that we would not be the fastest; our goal was to finish the race. I think if we hadn't had the problem with the power steering system we would have done that and we would have been sixth in class."
Fredy Lienhard: "We came close to finishing. We had some good driving and exercise. I felt good about my stints. I think I'm not slower than I was before; I think I'm better than before, which is good news. It's no secret that we don't have the fastest car. We would have liked to have finished, but that's racing. Sebring is a fantastic race; it is very challenging."
Eric van de Poele: "The dash had been flickering but then everything just went dark. I coasted to a stop. I didn't even have radio communication to tell them where I was. We have been chasing an electronics problem all week.
"None of us had any contact on the track with anyone; there isn't a scratch on the car. It's a shame we couldn't finish; we were able to do some good laps."