Strakka Racing pulled six points clear of JRM in the LMP1 privateer standings thanks to a late pass by Jonny Kane on the #13 Rebellion Racing car at the Six Hours of Sao Paulo.
Unfortunately, the British team lost ground to the Rebellion team, their other Lola Coupe winning the privateer battle and is now 40 points clear with three races, each offering a maximum of 25 points, remaining in the inaugural FIA World Endurance Championship.
On three separate occasions the Strakka crew had to overcome problems to keep themselves in the battle. First a problem with Jonny Kane’s first set of tyres forced the pitcrew into making an extra tyre change. There were further complications at the team’s third pitstop, Danny Watts pulling the HPD powered car in just as the safety car came to aid with the recovery of an LMP2 car stopped out on track.
The resulting hold in the pitlane dropped them away from Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost’s leading Rebellion car and toward the third place car of Harold Primat and Andrea Belicchi.
With Nick Leventis behind the wheel for Strakka that battle looked to swinging away towards the Swiss team as Leventis – the only gentlemen driver in the LMP1 ranks – struggled to keep Primat at bay. The fight came to a premature end when an ambitious move by Primat at turn four sent both men spinning, the Rebellion driver taking the position by being the first man to recover.
“Today’s been a really great team effort,” said Leventis. “To come here off the back of Silverstone and also score second in the Privateers’ Cup is fantastic, especially seeing as the race really didn’t go our way today. We had an issue with not being able to double stint Jonny’s tyres, which forced us to change our strategy. And then unfortunately Danny got held up in the pit lane due to the safety car. It’s just one of those unfortunate things and as a result we dropped back.”
“On top of that I had a coming together with Harold Primat, which personally I think was a bit short sighted on his part. However, we got on with it and Jonny drove brilliantly in the last stint to make up valuable ground. It’s another good points’ score for us and we’re in good shape going into the next race in Bahrain. To know that we can compete against Rebellion for the Privateers’ Cup is brilliant, the whole team’s done a fantastic job.”
Strakka responded by re-installing Kane in the car, the Northern Irishman tracking down Primat to make the pass for fifth overall at turn one just minutes before the end of the race.
“I really enjoyed the race and the car’s been really good all weekend,” said Kane. “We had a bit of a problem at the start of the race with my first set of tyres. We’re not sure why, but after that the tyres were brilliant and Danny did a fantastic triple stint in the middle of the race to get us back in a good track position. Nick also put in some stunning laps to get me in a position that I could hunt down Harold Primat at the end with fifty minutes to go. It was really tight, after thirty minutes we still had a thirty second gap, but I managed to get him with a couple of laps to go. I overtook him going into the first corner, which I knew was my one and only chance as it’s a hard track to overtake at. Overall I’m really happy, the car’s been great all week and it’s another great job by the boys.”