GT

Lola sets pace in Barcelona opener

The opening round of this year's FIA Sportscar Championship, staged on the Grand Prix circuit in Barcelona, produced a notable performance from Lola's latest B2K/40 sportscar chassis. Despite facing stiff opposition from several rival...

The opening round of this year's FIA Sportscar Championship, staged on the Grand Prix circuit in Barcelona, produced a notable performance from Lola's latest B2K/40 sportscar chassis. Despite facing stiff opposition from several rival manufacturers, the sole Nissan-engined Lola entered by SportsRacing Team Sweden was the undoubted class of the highly competitive field.

Shared by drivers Thed Bjork and Larry Oberto, the impressive Lola-Nissan B2K/40 secured pole position among the SR2 competitors for Sunday's 88-lap Spanish showdown. Fresh from its qualifying success, the Swedish entry then proceeded to dominate the two and half hour race setting a fastest race lap time that was nearly two seconds quicker than its nearest adversary. Larry Oberto, the 2000 USA Grand-Am SR2 Champion started the race and led the pack until he dropped to second place for a few laps. After gaining his rhythm on a track he was unfamiliar with, he was soon back in the lead and later handed over to his driving partner Thed Bjork, the quick Swede.

As the race entered its final phase, the Lola seemed on target for a well-deserved class victory. However, with the chequered flag in sight, Bjork spun into one of the trackside gravel traps when following one of the faster SR1 competitors.

Despite losing five minutes while regaining the circuit, the Lola's class leading pace during the earlier part of the race had built up a useful advantage and Bjork still crossed the line in second place in the SR2 category and fifth overall. Underlining the enormous advantage that the Lola held before its off-track excursion, the Swede was just 33 seconds behind the class winner at the chequered flag.

"Naturally we'd like to see a Lola finishing in front but to take pole position, set the fastest race lap and to lead for most of the race distance is as close as we can come to success without actually winning," said David Bowes, Managing Director of Lola Cars International Limited.

-Lola

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About this article
Series GT
Drivers Thed Björk , Larry Oberto