After a troubled run through the hours of darkness, Algarve Pro Racing Team turned its fortunes around as the sun rose over Circuit de la Sarthe on Sunday (17 June) morning.
As in his first outing on Saturday (16 June) afternoon, Ate Dirk de Jong steadily upped his pace until he breached the 3m42s over the course of a triple stint;
At 5.00 on Sunday (17 June) morning, de Jong gave way to South Korea’s Tacksung Kim, who enjoyed a set of fresh Dunlop tyres;
With exhaustion beginning to set in, relatively low grip levels in the cool morning temperatures and a change in lighting during the transition from night to day, staying on the track and lapping at a consistent pace was mentally taxing;
Kim rose to the challenges and dipped into the 3m41s while most often frequenting the 3m42s, but Algarve Pro Racing remained the last of the runners in 53rd position overall when it re-inserted Mark Patterson into the driver’s seat with eight hours – the equivalent of two European Le Mans Series (ELMS) races – remaining;
Algarve Pro Racing began cycling through its drivers more quickly, only keeping them in for double stints. Kim followed Patterson and was 51st overall with one quarter of the 24 Hours to run, and a priority was tyre management.
Ate Dirk de Jong (#25 Algarve Pro Racing Team Ligier JSP2-17): “My night stint went very well. I think we may have set the tyre pressures wrong during my first run on Saturday afternoon and that’s why I was sliding so much, because I didn’t have that at all in the dark. I just took it easy to get used to racing at night, but I managed to go faster than in my afternoon stint and my projected best lap time was in the 1m40s. While the team’s position isn’t great, I’m happy with how my drive went, because I didn’t make any mistakes and just slowly moved up.”
Tacksung Kim (#25 Algarve Pro Racing Team Ligier JSP2-17): “I went from total darkness and through the sunrise, so it was hard on my eyes, but the grip levels were low because of the cold temperatures and tyre management was a priority. I was trying hard to not make any mistakes and go quicker. I have seen many drivers lose their focus – it’s easily done at this point in the race – and I have two double stints left, and I know it will be challenging.”