Another decent weekend and another decent result but, we still weren’t burdened with the silverware that we were expecting, on our long drive home from the Nürburgring.
It’s a tricky place to drive a heavy stiff sports car and finding a nice balance is always tough. Slow bumpy hairpins are like kryptonite to a machine, which is designed essentially to go flat-out from Le Mans to Mulsanne and back, with some high speed chicanes in between.
The circuit feels claustrophobic and busy even with just over 30 cars out on track; the speed of the WEC pack leaves you no time to rest.
I think it’s a feature of a good result, like the previous one at Le Mans that the team’s expectations will naturally raise and anything but a rostrum seems disappointing, despite close to maximizing the performance available to us and scooping up some valuable points.
Starting duties fell to me in theNo. 37 and tricky wet and drying conditions laid in wait. ‘
A decent braking move down the inside of turn one was somewhat undone when Roberto Merhi unloaded a ‘pass or crash’ move up the inside of me into Turn 4.
On the first lap of a six-hour race, and as the Manor carried a seven-minute penalty from earlier in the weekend and would have to pit in five laps anyway, I chose pass, and took to the run off area to avoid him.
In fact we both went a little wide out of Turn 4 as a result of the lunge and the No. 26 TDS Racing car swooped by as well. I had plenty of work on for the rest of the stint!
One the lap before serving his penalty Roberto had a sensible pill and let me go up the inside of T3 when I had my car in position, so I set off after the No. 28 car.
Emmanuel Collard was next up and using his considerable experience to keep me behind without blocking so we maintained decent pace.
I managed to follow and LMP1 train through and with the car performing well. We zoomed up to the back of Nico Lapierre in the No. 36 Alpine.
Fully committed in and out laps along with a lighting job from the team meant we were able to jump Nico in the stops and set off up the road after Petrov in the other red Manor.
Past the Manor, we ended up pitting in P3 on the road and a net P4 for Tristan to keep up the good work.
He didn’t disappoint, making a nice move on Gustavo Menezes and a far-from-textbook but very awesome move on the No. 13 Rebellion to take second around the outside of Turn 8.
He pitted in P2 and it was DC’s turn to carry the car. He did a robust defensive job managed to hold the Alpine, and Rebellion up for a good while but eventually he was overcome by the 2 pros attacking from behind.
David drove a solid double stint without mistakes and brought the car in P5 fighting against pro drivers in most of the cars.
My final stint was a case of bringing the car home and taking the points but we had good pace and the car was performing fantastically.
It was mega for the guys to have another great result for the No. 38 car and congrats again to that crew who did a really excellent job. We need to be up there with them again in Mexico.