Barcelona Round Race Report
Anaes Denmark 25/07/2019 The race debut for the LMP3 Le Mans Cup at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was for KEO Racing another “what could have been” in a series of races that has proven that the team belong in the top of the championship.
Already in the first free practice the team lost valuable running time as several cases of full course yellows disrupted the plan of getting some long runs for both drivers, bronze driver Alain Costa (Monaco) and silver driver Johan Jokinen (Denmark).
In the meantime the Bronze Driver Test could make up for some of the track time lost during first free practice. However, it was over before it had even properly begun.
During the first couple of minutes an accident on the straight between turn nine and ten meant the session was red flagged not to be resumed due to extensive barrier repairments. Luckily no one was harmed in what was a huge collision between two of the LMP3 cars.
The second free practice presented better opportunities to put in consecutive laps for both drivers. It gave a better look at the pace of the car and by the end of the session car no. 43 of KEO Racing was in P2, +0.058 off P1. The team posted fastest sectors of all in two out of three sectors as traffic meant a theoretical best lap time more than three tenths quicker.
The next day qualifying was marred by the absence of a clean lap though the sector times of our bronze driver Alain Costa proved we could have ended P10. Instead we had to settle with a frustrating P17 knowing the pace was there for a better result.
For the two hour long race bronze driver Alain Costa would take the green flag and have the first hour behind the steering wheel before handing over the car to silver driver Johan Jokinen for the second hour of the race. We had an encouraging start to the race. Though we lost a position on the main straight during a chaotic start, we quickly managed to recover a couple of places by the first couple of corners.
The first hour passed fast without problems with most of the teams having their bronze driver to take the first stint. As the window for pit stops and driver change opened, the car was in P15. A perfect stop by the team brought the car straight into fighting for positions once rejoining the track with Johan Jokinen behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, well on the way towards top ten a bizarre technical issue forced the car into the pits for an extra stop.
Quick thinking from the mechanics got the car rapidly back onto the track though with points now out of range a truly disappointing outcome after a strong effort from the entire team.
The team looked set for a strong result in Barcelona as it has in the previous rounds but in the end got robbed of another top ten finish.
Next race up is at the traditional Belgian circuit Spa-Francorchamps penultimate round of the championship where we once again will work hard to fulfill the potential of the car and team to bring us into the top five where we belong.
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