Strakka Racing takes its third consecutive fourth place finish, battling through rain showers in the inaugural FIA World Endurance Championship race in Mexico City
Continuing its string of top four finishes since the Le Mans 24 Hours back in June, Strakka Racing finished just shy of the podium yet again in the first ever FIA WEC round at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit, located in the heart of Mexico City.
After securing third on the grid thanks to his superb lap, Jonny Kane took the startin its #42 Gibson 015S and kept the car in the top five, battling hard in the opening scramble. Despite being dry, the opening stint of the race was a tough one, with the traffic from the LMP1 runners proving tough to deal with, while the LMP2 field was still close together on track.
“I had to really push hard early on,” says Kane. “The pace was fast and furious, and that's before the rain in the second half of the race."
When Kane eventually came in to hand over to Strakka Racing team owner Nick Leventis, he had solidified fourth place. The driver change came during a frantic period of the race though, when the team opted to pit the car on short notice during the first Full-Course Yellow period for debris on circuit.
With the race green once again, Leventis had to drive defensively against the hard-charging teams throughout his stint. Steering clear of the incidents that befell many of Strakka's rivals, Leventis ensured the team was in still in with a chance to secure a top five finish when he handed the car over to Lewis Williamson for the middle stint.
Williamson, in only his second WEC race, impressed once again mastering the conditions that made the track increasingly slippery. “It was a real challenge to stay focussed when the track became wet, trying to gain positions and ensure that I minimised the risks I was taking through traffic,” say Williamson. “I was really pleased to be able to hand the car back to Jonny in one piece.”
The mixed conditions continued through the final rounds of stops as Jonny returned to the cockpit . Despite intermittent rain showers posing more challenges, Strakka Racing was able to finish the race on a high, capitalising on the misfortunes of teams ahead whiles Kane drove faultlessly to the flag after starting his final stint sixth and crossing the line fourth.
“It was such a hard race to read,” added team principal Dan Walmsley. “When we went back to slicks at the end, it was a gamble as we knew more rain was on its way for the final 10 laps. But we made the right call, and gave Jonny the best chance to finish the race strongly.”
Another haul of 12 points promotes Strakka Racing to fifth in the LMP2 Teams Championship with 52 points on the year with four rounds remaining in the 2016 season.
Next up on the 2016 calendar is the Lone Star Le Mans event at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas on the 17th of September.