Hungaroring: Series race report

Hungaroring: Series race report
Aug 24, 2010, 1:47 AM

Strakka Racing makes history! The twists and turns of the Hungaroring test cars and drivers to the absolute limit. With a high level of down force, exceptionally low grip and high track temperatures, the 1,000Km of Hungaroring have been very ...

Strakka Racing makes history!

The twists and turns of the Hungaroring test cars and drivers to the absolute limit. With a high level of down force, exceptionally low grip and high track temperatures, the 1,000Km of Hungaroring have been very demanding on drivers, teams and cars.

Nobody could hold a candle to Strakka Racing's Danny Watts on Sunday morning's qualifying in Hungary, and the British team's overall victory made history with the very first overall victory for a LMP2 car in the Le Mans Series.

Jonny Kane, Nick Leventis and Danny Watts have been pretty invincible as the Strakka Racing HPD ran without the slightest technical problems over the entire distance and scored its second victory in LMP2 and first overall in the 2010 season today.

A slow day for LMP1 cars

With its slow corners and its narrow straights, overtaking at the Hungaroring is far from easy and the fast prototypes sometimes had hard time to work their way through traffic. Of course, while overtaking is difficult at the Hungaroring, it is not impossible. The example usually cited to prove this is the 1989 Formula One race when Nigel Mansell came from 12th on the grid to take victory for Ferrari. Twenty-one years later, Nigel's sons -- Leo and Greg -- were able to repeat their father's tremendous feat as they snatched the first victory in the Le Mans Series in the LMP1 class despite seven overall. This class victory probably delighted Nigel and perhaps made him wish he'd raced here on what he used to say was his favorite track!

Efficiency and reliability were the decisive factors yet again. Refueling, new tires, driver changes -- the mechanics of the winning British Team Beechdean Mansell had nothing more to do from start to finish. With consistent lap times, Leo and Greg Mansell held a six-lap advantage over the second-placed Rebellion Racing.

Although Rebellion Racing crossed the finish line as the runner-up, the team got some difficulties during the race but thanks to the efficient drive of Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost with the #12 Lola-Rebellion, they got a deserved rewarding with the second place on the podium.

Vanina Ickx, Pierre Ragues and Franck Mailleux were able to repeat their Portuguese result as they once more finished third, their second podium in a row. Now in their second season in the Series, Team Signature Plus has gained experience and are now able to seize any opportunity of a good outcome.

LMP2 cars over the moon

Six LMP2 cars in Top 6! Strakka Racing impressive performance came after three sessions of free practice during which the Strakka entry dominated the LMP2 class and this was reflected in a pole time of 1:32.431 that was more than three seconds clear of the field and four tenths ahead of the first LMP1 car.

This was a crucial win for Strakka Racing in their chase for titles after two retirements, and Jonny Kane, Nick Leventis and Danny Watts's driving were absolutely perfect. It was a clear and incisive win.

For a long time it seemed that Quifel-ASM Team might yet snatch victory from under Strakka Racing's nose, but the Portuguese team lost 1 minute with a safety car procedure and had to go back to the Pit garage to change a part of the front bonnet. They finally finished at the second place of the overall classification.

OAK Racing also was back at the 1,000Km of Hungaroring with a podium finish. Matthieu Lahaye and Jacques Nicolet got a deserved rewarding result for their hard work and could sweep the disappointment from the last race. The #24 was also the winner in the Michelin Green X Challenge, a competition within the race that rewards overall performance and environmental efficiency.

Solo victories in Formula Le Mans and LMGT1

It has not been a kind race for the Formula Le Mans teams: the #43 Dams snatched the class victory, courtesy of Andrea Barlesi, Alessandro Cicognani and Gary Chalandon. The Portimao runners-up were able to climb one more step for the second consecutive victory for Dams. Despite being far behind, JMB Racing and Hope Pole Vision complemented the podium.

Despite a solo victory, there was great happiness at Larbre Competition was the first team to clinch the 2010 title. The LMGT1 Saleen might not have been very quick, but was reliable, and Patrice Goueslard, Gabriele Gardel -- both clinch the drivers' title as well - and Fernando Rees didn't make any mistake. Larbre Competition added another Le Mans Series LMGT1 victory to their impressive tally.

LMGT2 was as turbulent as usual

In a thrilling race with many changes at the front, the success story of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR continues: After winning the 24 hours of Le Mans and holding the championship lead of the Le Mans Series, the German GT has once again won the LMGT2 class thanks to Team Felbermayr-Proton and Porsche works drivers Richard Lietz and Marc Lieb. The title defenders, who have already notched up three victories this season, increased their points' lead with this result. "That was our toughest race this season. The Ferraris made our lives difficult right to the finish," said Richard Lietz. "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."

CRS Racing was up to the challenge in Hungary as Andrew Kirkaldy and Tim Mullen drove the #91 Ferrari to a runner-up finish in the fiercely contested class. Started from third, the result was the best of the season so far for the British team, which is the only Ferrari team to climb on the podium.

Patience, that age-old virtue, finally brought its own reward for the Team IMSA Performance Matmut in Hungary. Patrick Pilet and Raymond Narac did their best race of the season as they crossed the finish line in third position!

Great fights in Support races

The weekend could scarcely have been better for Marc A. Hayek and Peter Kox in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo with two victories out of three races. Despite scoring their third and fourth wins of the season, they didn't take the standings lead partly because of a poor result in the first race as Cedric Leimer and Nicolas Navarro scored their first victory.

Although used to the first step of the podium, Jamie Patterson and Bell End Racing had to wait for the second race of the weekend to take the victory in Radical Masters as Christian Kronegard and Slim Racing was the first one to snatch a win.

The next race will be round five of the Le Mans Series at Silverstone (United Kingdom) on Sunday, September 12th.

-source: lemans series

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