With finishing second, the #22 LMP3 of the Inter Europol Competition team with drivers Kuba Smiechowski, Hendrik Still and Nikolaj Rogivue extended its 2016 VdeV title. The last race of the season was a dream come true.
The last race of the season was for the #33 LMP3 unfortunately not a good one. The car, driven by Paul Scheuschner, Philippe Bourgois and Pontus Fredriksson, first suffered a compressor problem which got solved with a big thank you to the Duqueine team and Norma. Then the car stopped in the third hour with a gearbox failure.
The defending 2016 champion Kuba Smiechowski’s teammate Nikolaj Rogivue, started the race in the #22 LMP 3 from 8th position. After two hours he handed the car over to Smiechowski while in second place. Four hours into the six hour race, Smiechowski, now leading the race, handed the steering wheel to Still. Still kept his head and got the car safe over the finish line in second.
Kuba Smiechowski: “It was a not an easy race as the weather was changing constantly. Nikolaj did a great job in the first two hours and just when it looked it was going to be dry, it started raining again. So we combined me getting in the car with putting on rain tyres. It was only a quick severe shower and we waited for the track to dry out to go back onto slicks. When the safety car came out, it was really a bit too early for me, but we did take the change to go back to slicks knowing that the track would get better while the safety car was out. After that I just raced. The last half hour was hard for me as I had a problem with the front left tyre and had to manage the pace a little bit. But I brought the car back safely to hand over to Hendrik. I am very happy to win the championship again. The team worked really hard this year and always managed to give me a solid and good car.”
Hendrik Still: “My race was super. It was the first time this year that I did not start the race as I am an Elite driver, so it was Nikolay who took the start. It made me very nervous as I had to wait for four hours before I could get into the car. During the race I often talked to Riccardo (Zani), my engineer, to keep me up to date with what our competitors did. I am very happy with the win of the championship. I hoped for it, but was not sure with the speed we had that it would work. Very many thanks to Kuba, Wojciech (Smiechowski) and Michael (Keese) and all at the team who made this possible.”
Nikolaj Rogivue: “This was such a cool experience. It is so much more than just racing. You have to think about fuel and pitstops and your teammate and drivethroughs; this is teamwork. At the start of the race we gambled on slicks, but so had the first 10 cars on the grid. After my start I moved up to sixth and after the safety car period up to second. During my stint I did seven drivethroughs, mostly to get out of traffic. After 20 minutes the rain came back and we went to raintyres. It became hard to drive as the windscreenwipers left black tracks on the windscreen and it steamed up as well. But once the track dried out, we went back to slicks very quickly. The car felt very good. Then my hours in the car were up and I handed the car over to Kuba. Looking forward to do more of this, specially with this result.”