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MINASSIAN: Sao Paulo Debrief

SMP Racing’s Nic Minassian files his final Sportscar365 column of year…

Photo: SMP Racing

Photo: SMP Racing

We were not the fastest car this year in the FIA WEC but we still won the championship!

Coming into Brazil, we knew we had a chance, but a not a good one after a tough race in Bahrain. The points we lost there were big and the gap was also large, considering we only had four cars in the class.

The Interlagos Circuit is great, short but with fantastic corners and physically demanding given the rhythm you have to keep. It was even better this year with the new pavement. The grip was just unreal!

First practice was not so bad. We realized again that we were going to struggle on pace over one lap, so we started to work on tire degradation instead.

Moving onto the second and third practice, we found that the Ligier was going to be a hell of a challenge to beat!

However, the entire team was still upbeat and that was great to see.

I have to say that this year, we haven’t been able to push as we had wished and thanks to the team’s positive attitude, we kept pushing as much as we could.

The race was fun at the beginning. I had a good start and got in front of the Ligier. We had a good fight together. However, I got a puncture a few laps later and we were two laps down.

Then the Ligier had its crash. That was a very nasty one and I’m glad Olivier was OK. The luck turned upside down again!

From our bad luck in Bahrain, we were back in the hunt of the championship and just really needed to finish the race.

It was not easy, though, as the 37 car was leading and on course for a win until they hit problems.

For us, we had a bad vibration at the front that made us stop and check, and we just drove a gentle rest of the race to finish the race and take the LMP2 title.

I just can’t believe we won the title. SMP did a great job all year, winning a lot of championships.

It’s great that way, when you have the chance to have a person like Boris [Rotenberg], who has invested in the sport like this, get rewarded and have a result like this to thank him for these opportunities.

Now it’s time to plan for next year. I feel it’s going to be busy, just the way I like it!

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