Nurburgring: Charouz Racing race report

Le Mans Series: Skoda Charouz Fourth After Tough Battle Another superb result by Skoda Charouz Racing System-Lola/Judd in the Le Mans Series. The team placed fourth at Nuerburgring after having to start into the race from the last, fiftieth ...

Le Mans Series: Skoda Charouz Fourth After Tough Battle

Another superb result by Skoda Charouz Racing System-Lola/Judd in the Le Mans Series. The team placed fourth at Nuerburgring after having to start into the race from the last, fiftieth position because of a decision imposed by the jury. The team acquired some more points again; Skoda Charouz finished in silver place in Valencia. The race was very dramatic. Jan Charouz, who drove the final stint, moved up to the fourth place in the penultimate lap of 195!

The nineteen-year-old junior was some thirty seconds behind Nakana of Japan after the last pit stop. Showing a precise and stable drive, he was catching up with the former F1 and Champcar racer - the decisive attack came in the NGK chicane before the final corner. The Czech Lola/Judd overtook the black Creation Judd and kept the position to the very finish.

The trio Stefan Muecke-Alex Yoong-Jan Charouz was the second best among gasoline vehicles, when the first two places were occupied by factory Peugeots with more powerful diesel engines. The Czech team should have started into the race from third, i.e. as the best gasoline machine, but the jury canceled Muecke's time and sent the team to the end of the grid.

The technical inspectors found a damaged sealing under the airbox of the engine after having disassembled the car repeatedly (first two inspections were okay), which was assessed as a breach of the rules. Paradox is that the jury also helped the team by this: the false air taken in was cutting the engine's power down and increased consumption.

The team changed its strategy because of the last-position start. Muecke, who was to drive the final sting, became the first driver. He is familiar with Nuerburgring as he's at home there; he fought as high as eighth place after an hour. Yoong, who replaced him, got to fourth, but a flat tire meant the tail of top ten.

The wheel was replaced, the damaged bodywork repaired and an advancement could begin, which was climaxed by Jan Charouz during the last two hours. His performance surely was a nice present for his dad Antonin, who celebrated his 53rd birthday today. The Prague-based manager was as happy as another toastee of today, the F1 driver Lewis Hamilton, who gave himself 3rd place in the GP of France.

The second Czech driver at Nuerburgring, Jarek Janis, did not finish the race for his Spyker C8 Spyder caught on flames during the race. Janis even helped the marshals with extinguishing. He was lucky not to get injured.

Jan Charouz: "This was one of my greatest races. My fight with Nakano must've been attractive and I'm happy I was the winner. It wasn't easy. I caught up with him but I wasn't able to overtake him. Our car wasn't one of the fastest on the straights and also slower cars were holding me back. I had to prepare my attack in one of the slower passages. I decided for the NGK chicane and Nakano didn't have a chance. Luckily enough."

Stefan Muecke: "Overtaking 24 cars, that doesn't really happen every day (smiles). But frankly, I've never beaten so many rivals. It was a fantastic piece of racing. The first set of tires wasn't ideal, the car oversteered with them. The second set was okay and I drove flat out. I didn't keep the best course because I had to overtake a lot, which covered the wheels with lots of dirt and that was dangerous. I think our performance deserves acknowledgment; this was a real battle."

Alex Yoong: "I was sorry for the flat tire in lap hundred of almost two hundred. I had to drive slowly the entire lap and go to the pits. It worked out and I didn't get too much behind, just like after fighting with one of the Astons. Like Stefan, I wasn't satisfied with the first set of tires, either, but the second was all right. What matters is the final result and I consider that very good. I'm also happy I managed to set the fastest lap of our crew."

Antonin Charouz: "Jan gave me a supergift. His performance was flawless. But not his only, of course. Stefan and Alex deserve applause just as much. It was simply a similarly good result as in Valencia, where we finished second. I value today's result even more because of many troubles we had - starting as the last, the slalom among slower cars, a dramatic and dangerous blow-out and then overtaking the opponent in the penultimate lap! It simply was one show."

Credit: charouz

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Alex Yoong , Lewis Hamilton , Jan Charouz , Antonin Charouz , Jarek Janis