ELMS: Maini/Lancaster/Enqvist secures Top 10 result in 4 Hours of Monza
The team had the chance to fight for the podium but it was not to be.
The #24 crew of Jon Lancaster, Henning Enqvist and Arjun Maini were on course for a solid result in European Le Mans Series' 4 Hours of Monza but for the Full Course Yellow periods which hampered their strategy after a solid start in the race.
It was the first time for Maini in the Algarve Pro Racing Team car since the pre-season testing as he replaced Loic Duval for the weekend. The team did not have a great start as they faced engine troubles during the practice sessions which they had to fix up.
Maini's lap put them 15th in FP1 in the lead LMP2 category. It was better in FP2, where they were seventh after Lancaster's lap as he matched the result in Qualifying as well to be in a good starting position for Sunday's 4 Hours of Monza.
It was a good start as well by Enqvist, who shot up to second and ran comfortably until the FCY periods. Their rivals made the most of the situation as Algarve pitted under green, whereas most others used the FCY period to pit and eventually gain time and track position.
It was difficult to recover the lost ground as they ended up ninth eventually, having completed 134 laps of the 135 run by the leaders. A post-race penalty to one its rivals, promoted them to eighth, with just the one round in Portugal to go.
It is not clear if Maini will return to compete. The sister #25 car was 11th overall. “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," said Lancaster.
"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.”
[Image courtesy: Algarve Pro Racing Team]