Three Tales From The ‘Ring
Chamberlain-Synergy, G-Force & JWA

The LMES event was a reasonably straightforward one to cover ‘live’, but as ever, we can’t gather all the tales and write about them, within the duration of the race.

Every team has its story of course, but here are three we (partly or largely) missed.

Chamberlain-Synergy
Bob Berridge started the race in the #39 Lola, but he pitted as early as 23 laps into the race – which was particularly odd, as the yellow Lola has a ‘history’ of long stints.

Why pit after 23 laps? Race engineer Dave Lampitt was in the right place at the right time – Calais on Monday – to provide the answers.

“The car wouldn’t pick up all its fuel. It got to the stage where we could see on the telemetry, after using only 30 litres, that it was running lean, and we called the car in to top it up.

“But that little AER took all the punishment, and kept on running.”

We reported that Gareth Evans did “a triple stint” after a ‘double’ from Bob Berridge, and with Peter Owen in third, Bob Berridge was back in to the finish.

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“Bob reported braking problems. It turned out that a front pipe had chafed through, so he had no fluid in the front at all. As he came down the pit lane, he warned us that we’d have to stop him, but he cleverly stalled it and brought it to a halt. We capped off one front brake and sent him back out.”

That was the Lola’s ninth pit stop, only five laps after its eighth, and Berridge resumed in fifth in LMP2 (he had been fourth, ahead of G-Force).

“Bob lapped in 1:57 with one front brake, then got quicker as he got used to it – and he managed the 17 second gap to the del Bello car, to hang on to fifth at the end.”

It had been the del Bello team that couldn’t work out how it was beaten by the Chamberlain-Synergy Lola at Spa.

So no podium for the Spa winners, but Berridge, Evans and Owen lead the LMP2 points with one race left: they have 26, with 23 for the RML MG Lola, Belmondo’s #36 car also has 23 – and the title (and guaranteed Le Mans entry) will be decided amongst these three.

G-Force
“Our first podium spot was within reach....” were Frank Hahn’s words, as his Courage was pushed into its garage during the 1000 kms.

This event saw the return of Hahn’s ‘own’ C65, after dramas at Le Mans in June saw his chassis temporarily replaced by another.

David Hart qualified 18th. “I was close to the better drivers and this makes me feel confident. But my respect for the regular drivers of these open prototypes is really growing. It’s a very special experience. The car is also very different from the GTs I normally drive. The downforce is really amazing.”

Hart’s only delay was with rubber pick-up on his tyres, Jean-Francois Leroch taking over in the middle of the race and hauling the car into the top three.

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“My stint was one without any problem,” commented Leroch. “What’s more, I managed to get within the top three of our class and even 10th overall. This is a good result for our squad.”

Then came the significant delay, with Hahn himself at the wheel. It was a broken wire between the starter button and the motor itself.

“This is really disappointing, this incident made us lose 18 minutes or about 9 or 10 laps," commented the car owner later.

"Our excellent position is now gone but David and Jean-François will do everything possible to get the #35 Courage back in a good position,” said Hahn, as he watched the ongoing repair.

So the RML MG Lola finished third, G-Force fourth and Chamberlain-Synergy fifth.

The trouble-free entry in the class was the winning one, the Horag-Lista Lola.

Germain Liebens, team manager of G-Force: “Without the technical failure, we could have been third or even in class. But with ‘if’ you will never win a race… We know that there still is a lot to do and we will go to Turkey and will try to end up one or two places better.”

JW Automotive
All Simonsen ran a long first stint, the Porsche, with the new Coopers Ales stickers, running third once the rest of the class had pitted.

“Allan did another fantastic job, and enabled us to close the gap on the fastest Porsches significantly, (we qualified 1.7 secs behind the Sebah car) and it’s worthy to note that we are still 30 kilos overweight and running an H pattern box,” explains Paul Daniels.

”He completed an exceptional first stint. Provided I could have maintained a pace similar to my practice times (2.12 - 2.10s) we looked very good for a top five finish, until O'Young in the GruppeM RSR out braked himself and collected me at the Dunlop Curve. In fairness to Darryl, he came to find me afterwards and apologised for his error, which was appreciated.

“The mechanics changed a driveshaft, rear upright and front damper, by which time we had missed the chance to be classified, but decided to continue for the benefit of race experience and exposure for the sponsors. With little to risk, Allan went out with a brief to "give it some stick", which he did in no uncertain terms, lapping in the 2.04s at times, a second quicker than the Sebah car, and passing the Autorlando Porsche (with its 3.8 litre Porsche development engine). I completed the last 30 mins at a more sedate pace but avoiding further dramas. It was a real shame: we could have scored some decent points based on our pace, rather than attrition."

Allan Simonsen cannot drive for the team in Istanbul, owing to an Australian V8 commitment at Bathurst, “so we are looking for a potential replacement - a very hard act to follow,” points out Paul Daniels. “I wonder what Allan Simonsen could do in an LMP2 Porsche next year – it’s an interesting thought….”

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