SVK by Speed Factory Racing stepped onto the podium at Paul Ricard, where the 4 Hours of Le Castellet took place last weekend. Despite the safety car came out twice and as a result the Spanish-based outfit lost two laps, third place was the perfect reward for its efforts over the weekend. SVK by Speed Factory Racing sits second overall for season finale next month.
SVK by Speed Factory Racing claimed second podium of its 2015 campaign in the European Le Mans Series. The season resumed after the summer break at famous Paul Ricard track, with the Ginetta-Nissan LMP3 entered by SVK by Speed Factory Racing driven by full-season drivers Konstantin Calko and Dainius Matijošaitis, they both being joined by newcomer to the series Mirco van Oostrum. Van Oostrum replaced Jesús Fuster for the French venue.
Two windy free practice sessions took place on Saturday, when Dalius Steponavicius´ team placed third in both setting lap times of 1:57.416 and 1:58.193, not far off the pace of rival Team LNT. Weather conditions slightly improved on Sunday and then, in qualifying – which was held in the morning-, Latvia´s Calko stopped the clocks in a shattering 1:56.731.
The Latvian driver made the opening stint when the race got underway at 1PM, moving up to second place behind one of the Team LNT cars, leading by then. But luck was not on SVK by Speed Factory Racing side at Paul Ricard and two safety cars were deployed over the course of the race. Unfortunately they cost two laps for SVK by Speed Factory trio and they dropped to third. Anyway, the team and its three drivers fought back superbly and were eying to advance from third to second place at the end of the race. But Scuderia Villorba Corse didn´t make a fourth pit stop and SVK by Speed Factory Racing finally clinched a well-deserved third place on the rostrum.
The European Le Mans Series now takes a one-month hiatus before heading to Portugal, for the season finale taking place at historic Autodromo do Estoril.
Dalius Steponavicius (Team manager of SVK by Speed Factory Racing): “The race was certainly difficult for us. And luck wasn´t on our side this weekend. During both safety car periods, we lost one lap both times. We changed our strategy and chose a very aggressive one for this stage of the race, closing the gap on Villorba Corse. Everyone was shocked because Villorba didn´t make a fourth pit stop. We can only congratulate them because, by having a slower race pace at the end, they managed to do it. It was such a brilliant fuel efficient driving. Anyway we need to be happy with our third place on the podium because we now sit second overall, both in teams´ and drivers´ championships. We will try to defend this place for the season finale at Estoril. I want to thank everybody at SVK by Speed Factory Racing their committed work during the weekend. The car didn´t experience a single technical problem. Now I am looking forward to racing at Estoril. I promise excellent news for our fans there, as we will announce our racing programme for 2016.”
Konstantin Calko (Driver of SVK by Speed Factory Racing): “The French race was intriguing. We could have finished second in class, but safety car played a big role in our result. We lost two laps because of it. It is unfair, but it is racing. But anyway, next time will be better. I am happy because we reached second place in overall standings now. Our main goal for Estoril is to secure it.”
Dainius Matijošaitis (Driver of SVK by Speed Factory Racing): “We had a good practice in VdeV at Paul Ricard last week. And it certainly helped a lot for the ELMS round. In spite of it is partly normal, since I am a total rookie with aero cars and prototypes, and tracks are completely new for me, I am still a bit disappointed with my pace, because I would like to be quicker. I am probably one of the few who is going home with a trophy but still angry at myself. But that´s me! Paul Ricard is an incredibly nice and safe race track, but very tricky at the same time. For me, it is still room for improvement and I hope to get back here again to do it.”
Mirco van Oostrum (Driver of SVK by Speed Factory Racing): “We had a crazy weekend. During Saturday´s free practice session we had an extremely windy session, and it was really tricky to drive in these circumstances! The race day took place in better conditions but plenty of fights on track. Safety car was deployed twice, but both times they ruined our chances because we lost two laps to the leaders in LMP3 class. Anyway we tried to catch them. Our plan was that the Italian Ginetta should make a final pit stop at the end, but finally they never pitted. So we finished 3rd. For me, Paul Ricard was a great experience. To make my debut in the European Le Mans Series was incredible, and taking a trophy with me! I need more time in the car but everything was fine. I am looking forward to 2016.”