The third round of the 2013 European Le Mans Series was bathed in sunshine at the most picturesque of race circuits, the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
Fresh from a successful 24 hours of Le Mans, JMW now turned their attention to the three hour ELMS battle ahead having already secured two 4thplace finishes in the opening rounds, somewhat frustrating finishes given the team’s obvious ability and picking up some bad luck on the way! With the team’s regular drivers Andrea Bertolini and Joel Camathias at the wheel of the Ferrari 458 it was time to make an assault on the podium!
The event got off to a strong start with encouraging performances in Friday’s free practices, posting 2nd fastest time in Free Practice 1 and 1st fastest time in Free Practice 2.
Saturday morning’s qualifying session saw Andrea put in a great lap to secure 2ndon the LM GTE Pro grid which boasted a healthy field of nine highly competitive cars.
The race started at 4.40pm local time, with Joel taking the honours of starting the race and doing so in great style taking the lead just a few laps into the race. The top three for the LM GTE Pro honours were in a close battle which saw positions changed. The drama was heightened for Joel and JMW as towards the end of his stint a fuel pressure issue arose. This required an earlier than planned pit stop and lost the team around 20 seconds. Joel remained in the car and double stinted the Dunlop tyres which were performing superbly. A solid stint followed though once again towards the end the fuel pressure gremlin raised its head again but the team were quick to jump on the issue.
Andrea took the final stint and in blistering form put in some superb lap times, seeing the team rise to 2ndplace. However, aware of the fuel pressure issue the team put a sensible plan in place and whilst still setting enviable times, Andrea was busy conserving fuel to ensure the team took the chequered flag in a strong position.
Everything was working very well this weekend, the team worked so hard and the Dunlop tyres were amazing. There was no mistake on behalf of anyone purely the bad luck motorsport sometimes throws at us, this time with a fuel pressure issue. So I was very happy we finished 2ndbut when you know you can win you are not 100% happy with 2nd! It is good point for the Championship which will now be a hard fight for us but we will fight hard.
We had good potential to win so it was shame that a problem with the fuel pressure meant we had to hold back so I was a bit off after the race! I really want to win for Jim and for the team, I am so happy with the team, it is like a family. The guys worked hard all weekend on the car and deserve the win. The Dunlop tyres were really, really amazing. Their consistency is fantastic. We have a difficult fight ahead but my target is to win the remaining races!
The team and drivers now lay 3rdin their respective Championship tables and look forward to resuming the challenge in Round 4 which will be held at Hungaroring, Hungary, on 14thSeptember.