Nurburgring: Horag Racing race report

Horag Racing Sees Second Place in LMP2 Disappear in Late Stages of Sunday's 1,000 Kilometers of Nurburgring NURBURG, Germany - S&S Power plans to build the fastest roller coaster in the world, the Racecoaster, on the grounds of the Nurburgring...

Horag Racing Sees Second Place in LMP2 Disappear in Late Stages of Sunday's 1,000 Kilometers of Nurburgring

NURBURG, Germany - S&S Power plans to build the fastest roller coaster in the world, the Racecoaster, on the grounds of the Nurburgring next year. On Sunday Horag Racing experienced a wild ride of its own there in the 1,000 Kilometers of Nurburgring, rising from sixth in the LMP2 class at the start to secure a strong hold on second place until the last 50 minutes of the five-hour Le Mans Series event. At that point the team experienced a rare mechanical problem with the car's brake reservoir and lost about 25 minutes to replace the part. The entry returned to finish the race, posting its fastest lap of the race in the process, but the delay caused it to plummet to 12th in class in the final rundown.

The trouble struck after the Swiss team had completed 155 laps of the 5.148-kilometer/3.2-mile, 16-turn road course with its beautiful Lista Office and Lista, Making Workspace Work Porsche RS Spyder No. 27. Jan Lammers of Katwyk, the Netherlands, was driving and securely in second place in class, as the No. 27 was in ninth overall and it had a one-lap advantage over the third-place LMP2 car, the Saulnier Racing Racing Pescarolo Judd of Pierre Ragues. No one could catch the Porsche RS Spyder that dominated the class on Sunday and went on to win it, the pole-winning Van Merksteijn No. 34, but Horag Racing was poised to finish second to it for the second race in a row.

Right before the five-hour mark, however, Lammers noticed that liquid was leaking onto his shoes. That liquid turned out to be brake fluid, as the car's brake reservoir had broken. Access to that part is limited, so the pitstop for repairs cost the team about 25 minutes and dropped it out of contention. Although disappointed, the team was also very glad that Lammers was able to bring the car into the pits for repairs and didn't lose his brakes unexpectedly at speed and crash.

Repairs complete, Lammers returned to the fray and the team finished with 170 laps completed to the class winner's 188. The Saulnier Racing No. 35 inherited Horag Racing's second-place class finish and ninth-place result overall, completing 184 laps in the 5-hour-and-45-minute race. The Team Essex Porsche RS Spyder ended up third in class and tenth overall. The event attracted a big field of 46, 14 of which were LMP2 entries.

Belgium's Didier Theys of Scottsdale, Ariz. qualified sixth in class and 19th overall for Horag Racing on Saturday. He tackled the course with his usual tenacity from the drop of the green, and aided by some good pit strategy he was already in second place in class by Hour 2. He ran in various positions from sixth to second during his time behind the wheel on Sunday, turning the car over to Fredy Lienhard firmly in second place in class and 11th overall.

Lienhard, of Niederteufen, Switzerland, kept the charge going. He fell back due to the driver change, but then advanced back up to third in class by the three-hour mark, turning the car over to Lammers two minutes later.

After the driver change Lammers moved back into the top 10 and third in class by passing Miguel Amaral's Quifel-ASM Team Lola about 38 minutes into his stint. He was the fastest LMP2 driver on the track approaching the four-hour mark. He moved into second with 3:55 gone when the Saulnier car pitted to let Ragues take over. He put Hour 4 in the books while second in class and ninth overall.

Then the problem struck, dropping him to ninth in the class standings at the end of Hour 5 and 12th at the finish, although he recorded the car's fastest lap, a 1:46.459, during the last 15 laps it ran Sunday. It was the fourth-fastest lap posted in the class during the race.

Horag Racing was third in the LMP2 point standings going into this event. Only the season finale Sept. 12-14 at Silverstone, England remains on the calendar.

"This hurts us in the point standings, as a lot of LMP2 cars finished," Theys noted afterwards. "The reservoir of the master brake cylinder broke, and we lost a half-hour to fix it because it was difficult to reach. Otherwise the car was doing very well.

"The car was quite good in qualifying, but we concentrated on our race set-up, which was perfect," Theys added. "Today the car was loose during my first stint, but then after the first pitstop we changed our Michelin tires and it was perfect afterwards.

"Fredy drove very well, as did Jan. None of us touched anybody, and the crew had perfect pitstops," Theys noted.

"We haven't had a mechanical problem during a race since 2005, so we're not happy," said team owner Markus Hotz. "However, it was not safe to let Jan drive with that problem. He could have lost all his brakes and crashed. So, things definitely could have been worse."

The race was broadcast on Eurosport 2 and Motors TV.

-credit: horag

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Jan Lammers , Didier Theys , Fredy Lienhard , Miguel Amaral , Pierre Ragues