Despite having the pace to challenge for a podium finish, a series of setbacks cost Eurasia Motorsport dearly at the Paul Ricard European Le Mans Series round.
An exploded wishbone on the #33 ORECA 03R Nisssan capped the end of a difficult afternoon for the Filipino team, which had entered the race confident of a season-best finish after two strong free practice sessions.
The problems arose early on Saturday when guest driver Richard Bradley was held up by yellow flags in qualifying. Without the chance to post a proper flying lap Bradley ended the session seventh in the LMP2 order, meaning that starting driver Nick de Bruijn would have to contend with a mix of traffic on the opening lap.
Indeed, on lap one de Bruijn did get caught up in the close-quarters field – rotating the car at turn two. The Dutchman soon recovered and worked his way past the other classes, but by the time the first safety car came out just after the hour mark he was a lap down on the then-leading BR01 Nissans.
Bradley then took over and was jostling for sixth position at the midway point when he made contact with the Murphy Prototypes ORECA 03R of Michael Lyons heading into turn one. What appeared to be a minor touch soon spelled the end of both teams’ races as the Murphy car had a terminal failure a few laps later and de Bruijn was forced to pull over in the Eurasia machine ten minutes from the flag.
“We are bitterly disappointed, as we felt we had the opportunity for a good finish this weekend,” said team principal Mark Goddard. “What is positive is that our pit stops were really good, the guys gaining us time in the pit lane, but right now lady luck is not treating us well. We now look to the final event at Estoril and to finish the season on a high.”
Eurasia Motorsport enters the final round of the European Le Mans Series sixth in the overall standings, six points behind Murphy Prototypes. The championship will reach its conclusion at the 4 Hours of Estoril on October 17-18.