Algarve Pro Racing was on course for podium finishes in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) 4 Hours of Monza (9-11 October).
Spectacular opening stints by Silver-graded Henning Enqvist and Bronze driver John Falb on a damp and slippery track put Algarve Pro in contention for silverware at the ‘Temple of Speed’, but the team’s strategy was thwarted by Full Course Yellows that enabled many of its rivals to pit with a minimal time-loss.
Jon Lancaster (#24 Algarve Pro Racing ORECA 07 LMP2): “It’s frustrating that we’ve been unable to reach our potential when we’ve been capable of fighting for the podium in practically every race this year, but it’s all down to bad luck. Henning (Enqvist) made a great start and drove superbly throughout his stints. Everything seemed to be going our way, until we were unable to capitalise on a badly timed Full Course Yellow that occurred just five minutes before Henning’s minimum drivetime was up. Whether to keep Henning in for another stint was a really tough call in the moment and we need look into how much of an impact that decision had on our final result.
“We had a difficult start to the week, as testing on Thursday and free practice on Friday was plagued by a suspected engine issue and a rear damper problem. Everyone worked flat-out to find fixes and then get on top of the setup, but our balance work was speculative, and the car wasn’t quite perfect in qualifying or race trim. Algarve Pro Racing is doing all the right stuff and trophies were there for us today. We just don’t need any more bad luck, and I hope we can end on a high on the team’s home soil in Portimao.”
John Falb (#25 Algarve Pro Racing ORECA 07 LMP2): “The track was somewhat wet at the beginning of the race and I was able to tiptoe through the conditions on slicks, playing with the bias and traction control settings to get the best out of the car. I managed to get through the first couple of corners clumsily but without making contact, and then it was about getting my head down and capitalising when other teams had issues.
“It was a good stint and I was in first position when I pitted because I went longer than everyone else by saving fuel. Unfortunately, the rest of the field got a free stop by boxing during a Full Course Yellow, and we went from gunning for a podium to fighting for a position on the outskirts of the top ten. We could have pitted, too, but it seemed best to stay out at the time. I’m happy with our performance but disappointed with the end-result.”