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MINASSIAN: Shanghai Debrief

SMP Racing’s Nic Minassian checks into Sportscar365 following Shanghai…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

A bit late yes. I forgot about my debrief, but my memory is still good, so here it is!

It’s getting harder and harder to keep the lead in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

We’ve been lacking pace since the start of the season and are just hanging onto the lead by being as perfect as we can be.

We’ve been spot-on at all races, with excellent pit stops. Thanks to my ultra fast and hungry mechanics, they just don’t give anything away.

The strategy has been great too. And most of all, apart from Le Mans, the 27 car has been running perfectly ad that comes down to the preparation as well as the Oreca-Nissan package.

Shanghai is not my favorite track but it’s growing on me. It was good to have the ESM team there too, as they’re a great team and more cars in LMP2 makes it look so much better,

In first practice, we found that the car was working better than expected. The tire suited this track better.

We concentrated most of all to have a fast car for the two stints, as this was a place where tire degradation is high, especially on the left-front.

The second and third practices went better. We found a great setup for the race.

Qualifying, however, was not the best. We had too much understeer and it prevented me from extracting the best out of the tires.

Saying that, the Ligier is way faster than us now. It’s a new generation car that’s been all sorted for them. So we were behind by quite a large margin.

The race went well. I went up to third at the start and stayed there through my double stint. I did save a good amount of fuel too, so we could avoid the splash at the end.

Maurizio had a good stint but a harder second. His degradation was bad but we didn’t lose too much time, while Sergey had a very good run.

It’s good to know that both of my teammates are very reliable. It was not an easy track, as there were a lot of marbles there and one little mistake could result in an off.

I had a fun last stint. We had a slim chance of finishing second but the car was working better and better as it got rubbered up and cooler temperatures came.

However, we were just too far to catch the ESM car. So we finished third, and second in points, so we’re still leading the championship and the Ligier can’t make a mistake.

We’ll be sniffing around for any opportunity to extend our lead if we can in Bahrain .

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