Murphy Prototypes disappointed with a 6th place finish in San Marino

Brendon Hartley stepped in to the cockpit for the closing stage of the race and was able to push #18 up in to P6.

Murphy Prototypes took the chequered flag in sixth position at the end of a disappointing second round of the 2013 European Le Mans Series at the ‘Autodromo Enzo & Dino Ferrari’ circuit, Imola, in the Republic of San Marino, central Italy today.

#18 Murphy Prototypes ORECA 03 Nissan: Brendon Hartley, Mark Patterson
#18 Murphy Prototypes ORECA 03 Nissan: Brendon Hartley, Mark Patterson

Photo by: XPB Images

Brendon Hartley started the three-hour endurance race from the second row of the grid in the #18 Nissan powered Oreca following a fiercely contested qualifying session. He swiftly overtook the #1 Thiriet by TDS Racing car to secure P2 and was immediately all over the back of the leading #38 Jota LMP2 for the rest of the opening stint.

The team’s luck then took a down turn when a starter issue hindered Mark when he took over the driving duty at the first pitstop, losing him several seconds and places before joining the action out on track.

One hour and 45 minutes in to the race light rain began to fall on certain parts of the 4,909 metres long track. Mark drove a solid stint and kept his cool even when he endured a further starter problem when he came in for the team’s second scheduled stop.

Brendon stepped in to the cockpit for the closing stage of the race and was able to push #18 up in to P6, but was however too many laps behind at this late stage to make a bigger impact on Murphy’s Men’s final position.

Brendon Hartley, Driver, #18: “I was really happy with the job I did; the pace of the car was good. In the first stint I was all over P1, the Jota car, and put a lot of pressure on him; we were right on his gear box. Then we had a problem during pretty much every stop, basically we lost two laps trying to start the car.

Mark was impressive from yesterday testing to now and improved by three seconds; he’s getting closer and closer all the time. He really did a good job after one ELMS race and it’s looking extremely positive for Le Mans. On my last stint I had to catch the guy in front, I think he had a 35 second gap, and I caught him within the last 40 minutes of the race, but then he ended up having a spin when I got close to him.

I was happy with what I did, I made no mistakes and I pushed through traffic to try and make up lost time. It was a good effort from everyone in the team; it is just a shame that we had the starter motor issues in the pitstops as a much better result was deserved.”

Mark Patterson, Driver, #18: “That was just fantastic. Anytime they predicted rain and it didn’t come but for a sprinkle, was fantastic. They gave me the car for about three days I think – it felt like it! And all the coaching Brendon gave me to take me from a dinosaur to a mule in the horse race was quite amazing. I started practising one nickel at a time and the car did everything he said it would. We set a two second goal to improve me from practice levels and we got three and a quarter seconds on the fastest all the time. No complaints.”

Greg Murphy, Owner, Murphy Prototypes: “We’re very disappointed. I think we stole defeat from the jaws of victory there; we were really well placed and looked like we were going to take the lead at one stage. Then we had a problem getting the car started and lost a minute and half in the pitlane the first time when we got Mark in.

But the one positive thing from this week is that Mark showed he is really, really quick and we can’t wait to get to Le Mans. We have one issue, starting the car - something which has plagued us before. We’re really going to get stuck in, analyze what happened. We think we might know what it is, but we’ll make sure we do by the time we get to Le Mans. ”

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Greg Murphy , Mark Patterson , Brendon Hartley
Teams Murphy Prototypes , TDS Racing
Article type Race report
Tags elms, hartley, imola, murphy prototypes