Strong recovery drive for Racing Experience at Monza
The penultimate round of the Michelin Le Mans Cup took place this weekend at the iconic Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Known as the ‘Temple of Speed’, the iconic Italian circuit is renowned for being one of the fastest circuits on the racing calendar.
In one of the craziest races in the history of the championship including three safety car periods, despite being a dry race, the family-run Racing Experience team was among the teams that lost out in the action.
Following two points-winning finishes for Racing Experience at Le Mans, the team from Luxembourg was looking to capitalise with another strong finish ahead of the season finale next month.
Continuing the strong qualifying performance that we have seen from Nicolas Mélin this season, the bronze driver put the team’s no. 11 car in fifth position for the afternoon’s race.
Mélin took the start of the race, lining up on the third row of the grid. Racing three abreast, the Frenchman was squeezed between two cars into the first chicane, forcing him to back off to avoid damaging the car and dropping back. Not to be discouraged, Mélin had regained the position by the second lap.
Unfortunately, during a restart after a safety car period, Mélin attempted an overtake on the outside into turn one, but was forced to dip his left tyres onto the grass, causing his Duqueine M30 to spin. Mélin managed to rejoin the track but faced a tough afternoon from one lap behind the pack.
Mélin spent the remaining laps of his hour-long stint chasing the lead lap and pitted for the mandatory driver change from P19, handing the car to David Hauser.
Hauser rejoined the action in P18 but with a substantial gap to make up after the earlier incident, catching the lead pack was a tough ask. He raced hard to close the gap as much as possible, catching the back of the GT3 pack and enjoying some overtaking, but ultimately crossed the finish line in P10 in class (P18 overall).
Christian Hauser, team principal Racing Experience, said:“This is just one of those days in racing. We choose to compete in the Michelin Le Mans Cup because it offers competitive and exciting racing and sometimes the intense racing can come back to bite you. Nicolas did a great job to give us a good starting position and was holding P5 consistently. With the safety car restart, there is always an opportunity to gain a position and sometimes it is wrong to push too hard when there is still a long race ahead. This is a day we will remember as ‘the one that got away’ but we can be proud of our recovery.”
Nicolas Mélin, Racing Experience driver said:“It’s disappointing to go from a very strong position to the back of the field in a race like this. We had great pace today and we were on course for a great result. When I went for the overtake on the outside into turn one, I didn’t have enough space and my wheels touched the grass, causing me to spin.”
David Hauser, Racing Experience driver said:“It’s always tough to swallow losing a strong position but that is the nature of this championship. Sometimes it will go our way and today it went against us. It’s frustrating to spend my stint just trying to close a big gap, but as a team we were very quick this weekend yet again and I enjoyed catching and overtaking some of the GT3 cars. We know that with a clean race, we have the package to get a great result, so that will be the focus in the final race.”
The final race of the 2020 Michelin Le Mans Cup will take place at Portimão, Portugal on November 1.