An electrical glitch with the #22 HDP ARX-03a left JRM frustrated as their increasing pace in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) was again checked in the Six Hours of Sao Paulo.
The crucial moment for the British team came a little over two hours into the race at Interlagos as driver David Brabham describes;
“I got in the car and very soon after the safety car came out so I put the car into the safety car mode. When you go on fuel saving mode it can stutter a bit, but I didn’t think too much of it as it sometimes happens, but then the car just stopped. We tried a few things to get it going again and eventually it did, but we had already lost about 12 laps by then.”
The problem knocked the team out of the battle amongst the privateer LMP1 teams they had been an active part of Peter Dumbreck battling with the similar Strakka Racing entry, the pair making contact in the twisting infield of the Brazilian track. The contact did minor damage to the front of Dumbreck’s car, as well as earning the experienced Scot a warning flag for driving standards, though Dumbreck protested his innocence, claiming he was alongside on the inside line for the right-hander.
Once Brabham had cured the problem while out on track, Karun Chandhok took the car for the final stints fighting his way up the overall order past the slower LMP2 cars into ninth overall.
“The first hour I was in the car was good fun,” said the Indian driver. “I was out in the thick of it with lots of cars around me and we were quick so I was able to overtake and fight my way through. But then we reached a point where it was going to be hard to make up any more positions on track so we started to conserve fuel and try to get past with fewer stops. Overall it’s been a promising weekend and while it’s disappointing not to get the result to show it, there are still plenty of positives.”
Team principal James Rumsey agreed; “despite the issues in the race, again we showed a lot of potential. Our fuel and tyre usage were both excellent and we were setting lap times that were not that far off the Audis and very competitive with the privateer class. Without the issue, we believe we would have finished in fourth overall and best of the privateers with the strategy we were on. But that’s what might have been; we got to the end of the race and picked up some points, which are very valuable in the championship. We would like to extend our congratulations to Toyota on its first win and are delighted to see the championship grow in depth. We now look forward to Bahrain in just two weeks’ time, where we are hoping for better luck.”