Early penalty brings frustration on return to Le Castellet

Luxembourg-based team Racing Experience had a frustrating day in the third round of the Michelin Le Mans Cup after receiving an early drive-through penalty for jump starting the race.

Having picked up their first points of the season in the last race at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, the team was optimistic of building on this progress with another solid race.Team bronze driver Yury Wagner returned to the Racing Experience outfit to partner David Hauser for this race, having made his debut with the team at the season opener at Le Castellet in July.

Qualifying in cool, cloudy weather, many teams struggled with getting temperature and grip from their tyres. Despite this, Wagner qualified the no. 11 Racing Experience machine in P13.

Wagner maintained his position in the opening laps of the race but was deemed to have jumped the start during the formation lap, forcing him to take a drive-through penalty, dropping him to P21 after 12 laps.

Wagner enjoyed finding his rhythm and working his way forward as rain arrived at the circuit. Wagner pitted from P20 at the start of the 18th lap to change to wet tyres. Unfortunately, as he returned to racing, it became apparent that one of the recently fitted wheels was loose, forcing the team to stop the car.

The next round of the championship will take place at the iconic Le Mans circuit on September 19. The full Michelin Le Mans Cup grid will be joined by other LMP3 and GT3 cars from around the world, to make the largest grid of the calendar. Comprising two 55-minute races on the full 13,626km La Sarthe Circuit at the beginning of the 24 hours of Le Mans, the race is one of the most anticipated events of the season.

Christian Hauser, team principal Racing Experience, said: “In racing, you have good days and bad days and today it felt like a number of things were against us. It was very tough to qualify in such cool weather and of course a wet race is always very unpredictable. Yury was doing a good job to recover his race after his early penalty but unfortunately, one of the wheels wasn’t fitted correctly. It is a shame to not see the chequered flag, but we will look forward now to racing at Le Mans, which is always very special.

”David Hauser, Racing Experience driver said: “It was a tough day for many teams in difficult, changeable conditions. Despite the penalty, we were working well as a team to push for the best result possible, but it wasn’t to be today. It is a shame to not get a chance to race my stint today, but that is an expected part of being the team’s silver driver. Now we will focus on Le Mans.

”Yury Wagner, Racing Experience driver said: “We were hoping for a good result today. Qualifying was difficult with the temperatures, but we know that if you can have a clean first stint, you can move forward over the two hours. Unfortunately, we got a penalty for a jump start and the day got worse from there. After pitting for wet tyres when the rain started, I realised that one of the wheels didn’t feel right and I stopped the car. It’s a real shame as it would have been good to get some more time in the car and recover as much as possible, but that wasn’t possible today.”