High potential not rewarded in Austria for Racing Experience
|Sunday 16th May 2021, Spielberg|
This weekend, the second race meeting of the 2021 ELMS season took place. We were guests on the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. This location has not been on the calendar for two years and is also not run in parallel with the Michelin Le Mans Cup. That is why none of the three Racing Experience drivers had driven there in an LMP3 before. Only Gary had some experience on this track from his BossGP race with the GP2 back in 2013.
After the free practice sessions, time gaps were very small. With four tenths of a second, one could easily be either 4th or 9th in the general classification. Racing Experience decided to put Gary in for the qualification. At the precise moment (second!) when the cars were allowed to go on track, it started to rain heavily. With only ten minutes of qualifying duration, the team had to react very fast. After several discussions with his race engineer, Gary finally decided to pit on his first timed lap to come in for rain tires, well knowing that it was unpredictable to say if the track could again dry up before the end of the session. At the end, he qualified the car on P12 because some cars on slicks were lucky to have their last lap of the session on a semi-dry track.
During the race on Sunday, the weather predictions were again unforeseeable. Tom started the race and stayed in the car for a double-stint of nearly two hours. He did very well and battled hard against some GTs and other LMP3 cars. David took over from there and started his stint still on a dry track, but clouds turned up fast and soon it began to rain. During five laps, the Racing Experience driver did his best to keep the car on track under these extremely difficult conditions with slick tyres. Before pitting for rain tyres, he was among the fastest cars on track. The strategy engineer has done a great job, as did all the mechanics, because David was back on track with the right tyres at the right moment as it was now soaking wet. After just one lap, the safety car was called out because a lot of cars had gone off. At that moment, David had a spin in turn 1 from which he recovered immediately, but he was forced to realize that he had no forward drive anymore. After trying everything he could, he had to stop the car and the race was over.
Christian Hauser, Team Owner of Racing Experience: “To abandon the race is always hard, especially when the potential was high. We were in sixth position when David had to stop the car and had the correct strategy for a very good finish. We now need to understand what cause the loss of forward drive. It is even more annoying because we changed the clutch for a new one Saturday evening. After that, we need to close chapter Austria and focus on our next race in Le Castellet.”
David Hauser, Managing Director and driver of Racing Experience: “I want to understand why I spun in corner one. My race engineer told me that the Safety Car would come out on the main straight (just before corner one). The fact I lost power and that I had to abandon the car was very frustrating, but we need to verify and control everything in our workshop next week. For the moment I leave Austria with the feeling of not having been able to show the potential we had for a good race result, but I am still happy because I know it is possible. We will get there!”
Gary Hauser, driver of Racing Experience: “The qualifying session was a total lottery, I fought with myself during the first two laps to decide if it could dry up and make my slick tires work well enough or if I should rather box and take the rain tyres. At the end I chose the second option and had to realize that for the last lap, slick tyres would have been better, but it was a matter of pure luck. If the rain had lasted two minutes longer, all the guys on slicks could not have improved and they would have been the unlucky ones. Of course I am sad for not having been able to drive in the race, but I look very much forward to our next race in three weeks!”
Tom Cloet, driver of Racing Experience: “For me it was the first time to drive at the Red Bull Ring. Thanks to the simulator sessions with Racing Experience in their workshop, I felt very well prepared and had a good feeling with the car right from the start. I understand the Duqueine more and more and was constantly progressing over the sessions. My race stint(s) were good too and I loved the battles against the GT and LMP cars. I cannot wait to drive at the next meeting in Paul Ricard.”
Racing Experience now prepares for the third race meeting of the season. This will take place on the Paul Ricard track in Le Castellet, France.
Image credit: Underground Pictures
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