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Strakka Racing lock in top ten result with all three Mercedes-AMG GT3s at Paul Ricard 6 Hour Endurance Race

6th June 2018

Strakka Racing secured a top-ten finish at the Circuit Paul Ricard 1000kms of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with their trio of Mercedes-AMG GT3s.

The 5.842km Circuit Paul Ricard located in Le Castellet was greeted with warm temperatures over the weekend, reaching over the twenty-degrees Celsius mark. Friday’s free practice and pre-qualifying sessions were represented with competitive runs from the Strakka drivers, allowing them to work closely with their engineers to make final preparations before heading out into the main race on Saturday.

Due to an unscheduled engine change car #42 required some hours of work after Friday’s sessions, with the team working through the night to successfully get the car up and running. The PRO-AM car then headed straight into the early morning qualifying session, a few hours before the six-hour endurance race. Due to the engine change car 42 was forced to start at the back of the grid because the regulations only permit the use of one engine per event.

Saturday’s round of events kicked off with an action-packed qualifying session, which saw the #44 crew of Felipe Fraga, Adrien Tambay and David Fumanelli, qualifying in 21st in their Mercedes machinery, determining their starting position on the grid in Sunday’s race. The #43 crew of Maxi Buhk, Max Götz and Alvaro Parente achieved 24th place, whilst #42 PRO-AM drivers Nick Leventis, Lewis Williamson and Chris Buncombe qualified 6th in class.

Heading into the early hours of Saturday evening, the team competed in-amongst a 51-car grid for a full six hours, with daylight soon fizzling into darkness as the Circuit Paul Ricard 1000kms race continued into the night.

As the race started, the team were able to consistently work on their pace. The dramatic final stages of the endurance race and excellent pit stop work saw the team rocket into the top ten, with the #44 entry of Felipe Fraga, Adrien Tambay and David Fumanelli finishing the six-hour race in eighth place, closely followed by fellow team mates Maxi Buhk, Max Götz and Alvaro Parente in ninth in the #43 sister car. The #42 squad Nick Leventis, Lewis Williamson and Chris Buncombe claimed twenty-fourth place overall and fourth in class, missing out on a PRO-AM podium by slim seconds despite suffering a puncture and losing over two and a half minutes in the process.

Maximilian Buhk, #43 commented: “Unfortunately, a drive-through penalty dropped us far back in the beginning of the race, meaning we had to do everything we could to fight our way back towards the front. We slightly lacked pace and we aren’t where we want to be yet, so we have some things to work on. However, I’m happy with our ninth-place result.”

Adrien Tambay, #44 added: “The start of the race was difficult. We didn’t make any mistakes which meant we were able to move up into the top ten. The car felt good and I’m really looking forward to the next round at Spa.”

The next event on the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup calendar will see the Strakka team head to the 70th edition of the Total 24 Hours of Spa on 26-29 July, with an official test day scheduled for July 3rd at the iconic Belgian venue.