WINNING AT SPA IS REALLY, REALLY COOL. BRING ON LE MANS!
Alex Lynn - 6 Hours of Spa
Winning the LMP2 class in the Spa round of the FIA World Endurance Championship is really, really cool. What can I say? I had such a good feeling going into the weekend. I felt that everyone at the G-Drive Racing team had really done their homework and got their heads down since the opening round at Silverstone, because that had been a disappointing race for us.
We had a test at Magny-Cours last week, which included a night-time tyre test as preparation for next month’s Le Mans 24 Hours. I could feel everyone was very focused and it was a very successful test. The tyres were good, our ORECA-Gibson car felt great, and I thought I was driving well – that reflected in our speed, which was very strong compared to the others. I really thought there was no excuse not to win at Spa.
Through free practice at Spa on Thursday we focused a lot on the race, with my team-mates Pierre Thiriet and Roman Rusinov doing most of the driving. But it’s my job to be on it straight away, and there are only ever going to be tenths between me and the other pros, so giving me more mileage to chip a couple of tenths off isn’t really going to make much difference. Giving Pierre and Roman the maximum time in the car possible was a great plan and they were both going really well, and that gave everyone confidence.
Because we focused so much on the race, that possibly played against me a little in qualifying and I couldn’t repeat what I did at Silverstone with the overall fastest time. But Pierre did a good lap and our averages gave us pole, so that was very satisfying – everything had gone to plan.
Roman started the race in our car. He looked a bit nervous on the grid so I just told him, ‘Mate, it doesn’t matter at all. Just bring the car home – that’s all that matters.’ And wow: he did a brilliant job, driving away from the pack. It was only in his second stint that he lost the lead because of tyre degradation. The main thing is he did exactly what we wanted, bringing the car home within touching distance of the lead.
I took over at the wheel and caught up Julien Canal in the Rebellion Racing car and Alex Brundle in the Jackie Chan DC Racing car, and we leapfrogged them at the next pit stops. Then I pulled away from them. We weren’t really worried about Alex because we knew one of his co-drivers lacks a bit of experience, so my focus was on how big a gap I could pull on Julien before I handed over to Pierre. Over my two stints I gained 25 seconds and from my side I was a bit disappointed with that, but that was mainly because Canal was driving so well.
Pierre did a great job against Nico Prost, who was now in the Rebellion car, and he was within a few seconds of Prost when he handed our car back to me. We were two hours from the finish, and I knew Bruno Senna would get in the Rebellion car and technically there should be nothing between us on pace – this was going to be close. I was leading at the penultimate stops when Rebellion lost over a minute taping down their aerial, which had worked loose – for them that must have been just as annoying as our door not shutting was for us at Silverstone!
Now I was a minute ahead, but I had to triple-stint my tyres, holding the gap constant without taking anything out of the rubber. If I did that, I could control the race and bring it home, which I did. Overall I drove 90 laps in the race and it was a massive pleasure, especially coming away with the win. Even if it looked quite comfortable, it was a dramatic race and six hours whizzed past so quickly, because for most of the time we were on a knife-edge of dropping behind on strategy or on the track. But we did it, and I have to give massive credit to Roman, Pierre and all the G-Drive boys . Bring on Le Mans!