After being hampered by wretched luck and small mistakes in many races of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) JRM scored a well-deserved fifth overall in the Six Hours of Fuji, second among the LMP1 privateers.
The result, their best finish of the WEC season, came despite a late scare during Karun Chandhok’s anchoring stint in the race when the rear bodywork on the #22 HDP ARX-03a needed replacing. The extra stop left him vulnerable to fellow HPD team Strakka Racing in a fight for fifth place, but Chandhok held on, the gap between the two cars just eight seconds at the end of the race.
“Great to be on the podium!” said Chandhok, who survived contact with the #1 Audi earlier in his 1 hour, 40 minute stint. “It was a good race and finishing for the team was a fantastic feeling, particularly as it’s our best finish of the season so far. I had a bit of contact with the Audi and there was a bit of bodywork damage but apart from that we were reasonably quick. We do need a little bit more pace to finish ahead of the Rebellion – we stick with them at some parts of the race and only need a little bit more to get ahead. It’s nice to get a trophy for the boys, and it’s very positive for us and for the team moral. I’m very pleased after a couple of hard weekends in Brazil and Bahrain, and hopefully we can finish the season strongly in China.”
Chandhok was preceeded in the cockpit by David Brabham and Peter Dumbreck, who got the team’s race off to a promising start, taking a solid fifth place behind the Rebellion Racing Lola of Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost, who clinched the LMP1 teams’ title with their fourth overall finishing spot.
“The team did a very good job today and to achieve our first podium so far is the best way to end the weekend,” said Brabham, who drove a consistent stint in the middle of the race. “I had a good double stint. We had a bit of an issue after the Safety Car in terms of the front tyres not getting up to pressure, but other than that it was a solid run. I felt pretty good in the car, it was very drivable and I felt that I could push the car along without damaging the tyres, which is what you want.”
“This is our best result so far and we are absolutely delighted,” concluded Nigel Stepney, the team’s chief engineer and team manager. “The race went according to plan. We probably lost the chance to fight the Rebellion during Peter’s second stint on new tyres when we had a bit of a performance problem. But the boys did a fantastic job changing the rear bodywork in an extra pit stop and it was a positive race overall. We’ve been promising it for two races, Brazil and Bahrain, so it’s finally nice to get to the end and achieve what we know we can do.”