Ho-Pin Tung 2nd at opening round WEC 2018 season at legendary Spa
The #38 car of the Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport scored a hard fought second place in LM P2 at the opening race of the 2018 WEC season, the 6 hours of Spa Francorchamps. Ho-Pin Tung with team mates Stephane Richelmi and Gabriel Aubry were happy with the result and expected nothing less than to be able to fight for the top of the LM P2 class after the promising prologue race at Paul Ricard.
‘Yes I am happy with this result seen the circumstances, but a sportsman can only be satisfied with an convincing win”, Ho-Pin commented. “After this seasons’ first race we do feel confident for the repeat of the spectacular result at heavenly Le Mans, in a month time”.
The 2017-Le-Mans-winning car #38 shared by Ho-Pin Tung, Stephane Richelmi and Gabriel Aubry, crossed the line second after an impressive charge in the closing stage but claimed the maximum points- 25, with the winning #26 G-drive not being a full-season entrant.
The sister car # 37 car, which features the first-ever full Malaysian driver line-up in WEC history completed a trouble-free race to finish fourth place.
The race began in the warmest condition over the week. Right from the start, the two ORECA 07s powered Gibson were challenging for podium. The core driver of the Chinese team Ho-Pin Tung made a strong start in #38, moving to second place as the safety car deployed at the end of the first lap.
Richelmi took over the car from his team mate under the second safety car. Compromised by a Full Course Yellow session, the former Le Mans and WEC LMP2-class winner navigated the car consistently before handing over to Aubry, who made his debut in WEC. At halfway race, the 20-year-old Frenchman kept #38 in third position followed by the # 37 sister car.
As the last hour approached, the better tyre condition allowed the reigning Le Mans winning car to overtake its sistercar and eventually jumped in front of the rival in #36 Alpine thanks to another safety car that closed the gap after the shunt for #17 SMP. Tung stayed in #38 and took second at the chequered flag of the 6-hour race.
Heading for Le Mans
With the encouraging result at Spa, JackieChan DC Racing x JOTA Sport heads back to its operation base in the UK to accelerate preparation for the Le Mans 24 Hours on 16-17 June, where the team expects a closer fight in LMP2 class. Before that, the team will participate in the official Le Mans test day on 3 June.
Ho-Pin Tung: “A second place is a great start of the season, a hard fought second place it was . We had the potential to win but a minor issue with one of the doors forced us to box early. As we left the pit lane after that stop, the Full Course Yellow came out, so we lost a lot of time there as all our competitors took advantage of that. We gained however from the last safety car, which put us back to the contention for second place and managed to overtake Alpine for it. Now we need to analyse the race to see where we can gain a bit more. Also, we have a great line-up in #37, they were a bit unfortunate today, it should have been both cars on the podium. A special mention to everyone at Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport, with very limited preparation time everyone has done an outstanding job and it will only get better from here. And that’s promising, because the next one is the big one – Le Mans”.
Spa, Belgium, May 6th, 2018.