G-Drive Racing finished a creditable sixth in LMP2 after a mixed weekend in the FIA World Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring.
The Russian team were already set to take a three-minute penalty during the six hour race after driver Roman Rusinov was deemed to be at fault in the accident with the #88 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR at the Le Mans 24 Hours in June; the crash which ended both cars race before the end of the first hour.
The qualifying session in Germany was seemingly a sign of what was to come for the team as Ben Hanley, who replaced Alex Lynn who was on Formula E duty and Pierre Thiriet’s combined pole sitting LMP2 time was removed after scrutineering, meaning the team would have to start at the back of the grid for round four of the championship.
Dragonspeed ELMS driver Hanley started in the car and would quickly move up through the GT field and into the LMP2 running order before handing over to Rusinov after 46 laps.
A solid stint from the Russian would then leave Thiret to continue the team’s consistent performance despite the Le Mans penalty and Hanley was then put back in the car to take the checkered flag and take a fine sixth place after a late battle with Vitaly Petrov in the #25 CEFC Manor TRS Racing.
Hanley said on the result, “It was really great to start with the overall fastest lap during qualifying session, but we lost it unfortunately. Anyway, even if we had several ‘problems’ to deal with, I can say it was a good race and we had a good pace.”
“We had to overtake a lot and the traffic was sometimes hard to deal with, but it is mostly true when you are very closed to another LMP2, as you lose a lot of downforce, so the big job was to manage the tires and wait for the opportunities.”
“That’s also what I did during the final battle with Vitali Petrov… It was really tricky and I did not want to risk anything, so I waited for the right moment, and I got it, so that was great!”
While Rusinov added, “With the penalty from Le Mans, there was no way we could fight for the LMP2 win, unless something incredible had happen ahead of the field, so our objectives was to do the best possible race to add some points to our championship standing.”
“In fact we did a great race, because starting from the back of the grid and with the Le Mans penalty, we still finish 6th LMP2.”
Round five of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship is the Six Hours Of Mexico and takes place between September 2-3.