Safety Car Scuppers OAK Racing’s Winning Ambitions

OAK Racing were left bemoaning their luck at Silverstone, as an ill-timed safety car period meant the team lost out on a podium finish in the competitive LMP2 field. The #24 Morgan-Nissan ran as highly as first place, but a safety car towards the end of the race meant they finished a disappointed sixth.

Following Jacques Nicolet’s impressive double stint, he brought the car in to hand driving duties over to Olivier Pla. Unfortunately however, the safety car was called for following an incident out on circuit, and championship regulations stated that Pla had to wait at the end of the pit lane before a safety car went by.

The delay meant that the car dropped to eighth and despite Pla’s best efforts – which included setting the fastest lap – he was unable to recover the time and finished sixth, and fourth of the WEC-registered cars.

Things were no better for the team’s second entry, the #35. The car had shown good speed through the weekend, but was never in contention in the six hour event after it lost seven laps in the pits early on as a starter motor was replaced.

Bertrand Baguette, Dominik Kraihamer and David Heinemeier Hansson were all in impressive form as each did their best to climb back up the order. In the end they were rewarded with a tenth place finish.

“Everything was going well before the safety car. We had the pace for victory so it’s a huge shame. We have to accept it but I can’t understand why we were held for so long at the end of the pits. I think both safety cars went past while I was waiting there,” Olivier Pla said afterwards.

“We lost so much time changing the starter motor which cost us any chance today. The driver line-up showed plenty of speed though, especially David (Heinemeier Hansson) who set some very impressive times. We can’t change the result so I’ll just look forward to the next one. The team tried a few different things and I gained some experience, which is important to me personally,” Kraihamer added.

“The timing of the safety car was really bad for us. We stopped just before it was deployed so there was a red light at the end of the pit-lane that we were held at for a long time. We lost two laps which  undid all of our hard work having been a net 20 seconds behind the leader. But what can we do?” Sebastien Philippe, the team’s principal, added.