Having had a difficult couple of days leading into the race the warm up session driven by Hideki's team mate Jean de Pourtales gave the impression that the car was working a lot better than yesterday and the lap times seemed very stable, maybe not...
Having had a difficult couple of days leading into the race the warm up session driven by Hideki's team mate Jean de Pourtales gave the impression that the car was working a lot better than yesterday and the lap times seemed very stable, maybe not showing the absolute speed the team would like to see from the Lola-Mazda package but very stable and consistent lap times to start a 1000 Km. long endurance race.
When the car went on to the track to do the pre grid warm up it was once again driven by Hideki's team mate Jean who notified the team via the onboard radio that there was some problem with the gearbox after which the teams Data Engineer together with the Mazda Engineer did a diagnosis on the engine and car data provided by the Motec telemetry system and found that the gearbox was fine but that there was a sensor of the onboard acquisition system which was malfunctioning leading to miss-shifting of the electronically guided gearbox. The car came into the pit lane and the team's mechanics started to swap the sensors on the car, this cost the team a little bit more time than desired causing a pit lane start for the Kruse Schiller Motorsport Lola-Mazda car.
Jean did a double stint in which he had the difficult job to get back ahead of the numerous GT cars. After this he gave the steering wheel to Hideki who was to do a triple stint. Of course the high speed Monza circuit where the lap times of the LMP cars are much faster than the GT's meant that they had to be passed very often which is always a moment of being careful. Hideki drove a triple stint with very little mistakes and the car handled very reliably which in the end brought the first points for Hideki, Jean and the KSM team. 3 points for a well deserved 6th place in LMP-2 class.
Looking back on the start of the season, the various test sessions, the Barcelona race etc. in all of which the team encountered numerous problems of all kinds and after having had several engine related problems sorted out by the Mazda engineers by checking out the complete engine installation and installing a new swirl bottle before the Monza event. This seems to have the job and the engine has run like clockwork for the entire duration of the race. Achieving this result is a very big satisfaction for the team.
Everybody on the team has given 110% and therefore feels that this result is well deserved, not to mention the moral boost to the whole team that has finally been rewarded for their hard work.
Hideki feels very confident that the team will further improve and that the new engineer Johannes Gruber will be able to learn a lot from the data gathered in this event and will be able to translate this into knowledge of the chassis. Looks like KSM and Hideki are ready to do "serious business" in another 2 weeks during the Spa Francorchamps Le Mans Series round 3.
-credit: hideki noda