Silverstone: Horag-Lista Racing race report

Horag-Lista Racing Finishes Fourth at Silverstone SILVERSTONE, England, Aug. 18 - Drivers Didier Theys and Fredy Lienhard and the rest of the Horag-Lista Racing team persevered through an incredibly rainy six-hour race at Silverstone last...

Horag-Lista Racing Finishes Fourth at Silverstone

SILVERSTONE, England, Aug. 18 - Drivers Didier Theys and Fredy Lienhard and the rest of the Horag-Lista Racing team persevered through an incredibly rainy six-hour race at Silverstone last Saturday to finish fourth in the LMP2 class in only the second Le Mans Endurance Series (LMES) race ever for the Lista-sponsored Lola B05/40 Judd No. 27.

The team members were extremely pleased with the strong finish, as the Lola ran well throughout the race and both drivers did an excellent job despite the adverse conditions and the fact that neither knew the circuit well. Theys hadn't raced here in over 20 years, and Lienhard had never competed at Silverstone at all.

Racers being racers, all of them can be excused for wondering what the results might have been without one little incident though. The effort lost two to three laps on one restart when the Lista Lola was hit in the rear by a Ferrari 550 Maranello in the Stowes Corner, spun into some wet grass and needed to be towed in before it could resume. The laps lost were approximately the same number of laps down the team was to the class winner at the checkered.

Still, the strong showing solidified the team's stance as serious contenders in the very competitive series. Indeed, the team was in second place in class and sixth overall at one point and it had a class podium spot until just 15 minutes from the end of the race, when polesitter Tommy Erdos passed Theys for third.

The team's next race is at Germany's famous Nurburgring Sept. 3-4. It is also scheduled to race in America at the Petit Le Mans American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. Sept. 30-Oct. 1.

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Quotes follow:

Fredy Lienhard: " I'm very satisfied with our performance, even when we missed the podium in the late stages of the race.

"I was a little bit surprised by myself to be so quick in the race in such difficult circumstances. The rain and the darkness were big challenges. I had a huge problem with my visor misting up, but I guess that was happening to a lot of people out there.

"We should maybe have had a podium here, but it was not to be. The car was capable and the team was too, but we know the Nurburgring better so we are very much looking forward to that weekend."

Didier Theys: "This was one of the hardest races I've ever competed in. It was pouring rain the entire race. In such extreme weather conditions it was very difficult to stay on the track in general. There must have been two inches of water on the track. We had many yellow-flag periods, and it was even scary behind the pace car at 40 miles per hour because we were aquaplaning; there was just so much water on the race track.

"But we did six hours with no mechanical problems; the car was running fine. My compliments to the team.

"The time we lost was during a restart. A pack ahead of me was a little slower than I expected. I braked, and a Ferrari 550 hit me in the rear. We both ended up in the grass. The ground was so soft and wet that I was stuck there and had to wait for a truck with a tow rope to pick me up. We lost two to three laps in that incident, and when the race ended we were three laps down from the winner of the class, who finished fourth overall. Except for that, things went quite well. The pit stop went well, the team worked well together and the car was quite reliable during the race.

"We did miss two practice sessions on Friday. After about five laps, the engine just quit. It looked like something broke the engine sensor. It took us two hours to find the problem. We changed the electronic box and other things, and finally when we took the gearbox away from the engine we realized that the sensor was broken.

"Fredy did a super stint in the wet. He had never driven at Silverstone and I haven't driven here since 1984 in Formula 2. The track has been re-designed since then, so it was quite tough to learn everything before the race for both of us. It is very fast and technical; even more fast and technical than Watkins Glen.

"Fredy did extremely well. We were very pleased with his lap times, which were faster than many of the other competitors despite him never having driven on this track before and despite the very bad conditions. He did a super job."

Markus Hotz (team manager): "Except for a defect with a gearbox sensor, which caused us one free practice session to resolve, we had a trouble-free weekend. The Lola showed its reliability and its potential against tough conditions. I look forward to the next LMES race at the Nurburgring on September 4."


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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Didier Theys , Fredy Lienhard