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MINASSIAN: Bahrain Debrief

Nic Minassian files his latest Sportscar365 column following heartbreak in Bahrain…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Disappointing… That’s the way to describe my weekend!

Going to Bahrain is always a treat. The atmosphere and welcome from the people there is just fantastic.

Plus, we’ve always been competitive there. We won the race in 2012, got pole and was fast all week in 2013, and this year it started off very well too.

Our pace was good right after first practice and we improved the setup by getting a better handling in the front-end.

In second and third practice, we made sure to choose the right compound of Michelin tires for the race, as the track is aggressive on tires.

The front was good after the setup change but the rear was a problem for tire degradation, but we found a solution.

We had high expectations going into qualifying, as we ended up fastest in the final practice and the car was ready to race and very well balanced.

Second on the grid was our place. The G-Drive car was just too fast to challenge them over four laps.

At the start of the race, I kept the inside line and was leading after the first corner. This was good!

Bahrain is not an easy place to overtake, and our speed was better than the Ligier, although they were not going to be our main rival in the race as they hit trouble early.

After my double stint, we had a 12-second lead. Maurizio went after me and thanks to a very quick pit stop, we extended our lead to 25 seconds over the KCMG car.

Maurizio’s driving was great, as usual, but we lost the lead during his second stint. The KCMG car was a bit quicker than us in that part of the race.

Sergey went in next for his double and we were still in contention. He drove faster than he had ever gone all weekend, and with very consistent times too.

Then I went back in for my final double stint to end the race. We knew that winning would not really possible but second was more than good, as we’d get a big advantage on points over the G-Drive car.

That was… until I heard a bang on my rear wheel!

I have to say, I didn’t see this one coming. I was driving, fully aware that winning was going to be very difficult and making sure we finish and get our points.

From there, it was a nightmare. I got a stop-and-go penalty for not letting the Audi past, and I can tell you, why would I block a LMP1 car?

I didn’t see the Audi. Under braking is a bit hard and do to so, the Audi could have waited a little bit too!

Like what was said in the drivers’ briefing, it’s the faster car that does the overtaking, not the slower one, who gets out of the way.

Anyways, it was a racing incident, I guess. And I feel really bad for the team and my teammates for that incident.

Moments after serving the penalty, I started to have gearbox problems, and it went further downhill from there.

I had to pit, and we couldn’t return due to terminal gearbox failure.

While we can’t turn the clocks back, we can look forward to Brazil, and there’s still a possibility to win the championship.

So it will be a massive attack there!

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