LeSports by Eurasia Motorsport finished in a fighting second position this afternoon as the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) travelled to Spielberg for the 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring (17 July, 2016) and in doing so secured its first ELMS podium position.
Following on from fifth place finishes at both Imola and Le Mans, Tristan Gommendy, Pu Jun Jin and Nick de Bruijn had high expectations following a strong qualifying performance on Saturday. Race day saw the Team exploit the clear pace of the #33 Oreca Nissan, securing the fantastic runner up position.
“The podium was the aim and a second is even better, we’ve done it,” said LeSports by Eurasia Motorsport Team Principal, Mark Goddard. “It’s really the icing on the cake after a fantastic race weekend. The pitstops were good, all three drivers did a fantastic job and we’re very happy.
“It’s especially satisfying as it proves that Le Mans wasn’t a fluke, it underlines that we’re where we should be… Podiums and that’s where we’re at.”
Gommendy made a great start to jump up to third position before quickly deposing the next car on just the third lap. Setting the fastest lap of the race, the Frenchman soon closed in on the leading Ligier, applying pressure until that leader came unstuck lapping a GTE Ferrari in the final corner. Gommendy took advantage to take the race lead with 40-minutes complete.
“The strategy allowed me to push early on as much as I liked and the car was really good,” said Gommendy. “I’m really proud of the job we’ve done from the start of the year as we’re a strong team and it’s been slowly coming.”
Gommendy handed over the #33 entry over to Pu Jun Jin for the second stint and he duly put in an impressive run through to half distance before Nick De Bruijn took to the circuit in a close third, just 50 seconds behind the race leader.
“During my stint I struggled with the tyres a little but the result is just so good as we’ve come so much further this time,” said Pu Jun Jin. “We’re happy with our first trophy it’s really good result.”
De Bruijn regained that second position following a spin from the #32 BR01 and then battled hard with #38 G-Drive into the final hour. “It’s such a tiny track and with so much traffic it was a hard race with many accident as we saw,” said de Bruijn. “There’s no scratches or dents on our car so a good result.”
Gommendy was back behind the wheel for the final stint and with strategy giving him a slight tyre advantage, he was able to take few risks to maintain position and bring the car home to the chequered flag. “We’re very happy as it’s out first time on the podium,” Gommendy concluded. “Now we’re here and I’m very happy with that.”
The European Le Mans Series resumes at Paul Ricard for the 4 Hours of Le Castellet, 26-28 August 2016.