First points for Racing Experience in home race
The Racing Experience team marked their home race at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps with a P8 finish and their first points of the season.
Following bad luck in the opening round of the season, where the team were forced to retire due a broken driveshaft, the target for the family-run team from Wormeldange was to complete the full race distance and score some valuable points at the circuit they know so well.
After missing the season opener, bronze driver Nicolas Mélin marked his return to the team by delivering the team’s best ever qualifying performance since joining the Michelin Le Mans Championship last year. The French man put the no. 11 Duqueine D08 in P3 for that afternoon’s race.
Mélin started the race for the team on the second row, losing a position in the opening lap but maintaining his fourth-place position throughout the remainder of his hour-long stint, despite substantial pressure from behind.
Pitting at the half-way stage, Mélin handed the car over to David Hauser, who got his first taste of the new Duqueine D08 in race trim this weekend, as he once again alternates races with his brother Gary throughout the season. Losing a few of positions during the pit stops, Hauser held the third best position of the Duqueine cars on track throughout his stint, defending hard against the car behind.
With 17 minutes remaining Hauser pitted from P7 for the second mandated “splash and dash” pit stop, losing one further position to the car who was pressuring him from behind. He crossed the finish line in P8, earning four valuable championship points for the team.
Christian Hauser, Racing Experience team principal, said: “It’s good to get our first points today. We had a good race and we extracted the most we could. It was good to welcome Nicolas back to the team this weekend and he had a strong qualifying. He did exactly what we asked of him today, keeping out of trouble and delivering a solid result. David was unlucky with the gaps to other cars after the pit stops and he couldn’t move forward as much as he would have wanted to, but overall P8 is a great result and we can now look forward to building on this in the next race.”
David Hauser, Racing Experience driver said: “It is always a good day when you get to race at Spa, but to come away with our first points of the season in this very competitive championship makes it even better. Well done to Nicolas for a great qualifying and it’s a shame that we lost some positions in the pit stops. As a driver, you obviously want to be further forward, but our target today was to complete the race, and to score points is a bonus.”
Nicolas Mélin, Racing Experience driver said: “I am very happy with today’s race. Despite missing the first race, I felt really good in the car. We learned a lot last season about this championship, and it is all coming together this year. I was pleased with qualifying and it is always good to start towards the front because it reduces the risk of damage in the opening laps. After that, it was about finding consistency and managing the gaps. It was pretty close a few times with the guy behind, but we had some great battles and was pleased to hand over the car to David in a good position.”
The next race of the championship will take place at Circuit Paul Ricard as the championship returns to Le Castellet in the South of France on August 29.