Tatiana Calderón and her team scored their best finish of the European Le Mans Series season so far in Saturday evening’s race at Motorland Aragon, Spain.
The Colombian and her teammates aboard the #19 Team Virage Oreca LMP2 car, Ian
Rodriguez and Alexander Mattschull, finished sixth in the LMP2 Pro/Am class at the end of a challenging four-hour race that started in daylight and finished after darkness fell.
Back for his second race in succession, bronze-rated driver Mattschull put in a strong
performance in qualifying to put Team Virage fifth on the starting grid. The German driver handled the opening two stints of the race before coming into the pits to hand over to Rodriguez at the 1h15min mark, just after the only full safety car period of the race.
Tatiana took over the reins with just over 1h15min remaining, completing the final double stint. The team had been in a position to fight for fourth place against much more experienced LMP2 outfits such as Proton Competition and Algarve Pro Racing, but in the end Tatiana had to be content with sixth, after a full course yellow that ended up with her options to fight with them. She crossed the finish line 6th holding off Sebastian Montoya in theDragonSpeed car who finish 7th.
After the disappointment of the previous race at Paul Ricard, where the team was not
classified owing to a miscommunication that meant the #19 car was not running at the finish, Tatiana and her team-mates could take satisfaction from a solid, problem-free run this time round. However, the Polish-flagged team will be eyeing further improvements to their pace for the final three races of the six-round ELMS campaign.
Tatiana Calderón: “Finally we finished P6, which I would say is our first ‘real’ result of the year. We’ve made a lot of improvements with the procedures and pitstops, and Alex did a great job in the first stint. Unfortunately the track conditions changed a lot from one day to the next; it cooled down by more than 10 degrees, maybe even 20, by the end of my stint. We were in the fight with P4 and we were under pressure from behind from DragonSpeed, so I feel we did the maximum with what we had. There are still things to improve, but I am really happy with the step we made. We needed this solid result and consistency in the driver line-up. We’ll keep pushing as a team to understand what we could have done better. Next is Spa, which will be much colder, but I’m looking forward to it.”
The penultimate round of the ELMS season will take place at the legendary Spa-
Francorchamps circuit on September 24.
Image Credits: @juledechezsmithenface