Double baptism of fire for Kevin

24.04.2014

Two races, two VERY different races.

Silverstone ELMS 2014

So, Kevin has now gone through his double baptism of fire as a sportscar driver. First ever GT race at Monza brought him 3rd place and the second one at Silverstone resulted in P7. But not only positions in the final classification were different. Literally everything changed from one weekend to another.

For starters, the cars were not the same. At Monza Kevin shared #99 McLaren MP4-12C with Kevin Éstre and Andy Soucek, while at Silverstone he was a “gold” driver in car #98 with Grégoire Demoustier as “silver” and Yann Goudy as “bronze”.

Blancpain qualification is driven in three 20-minute sessions, one for each driver. Relevant times are usually posted in the final session but Kevin É. only managed 11th best time at Monza. It seemed like a handicap for a 3-hour race but then he performed miracles at the start, completing lap 1 in P6. Kevin K. was the second to drive and he completed his stint in P3 while Andy Soucek hold that position until the flag. P2 would have been likely but for a botched second pitstop – another car was standing in the next pitbox and #99 had to be pushed to drive out from its own box.

ELMS round at Silverstone was a very dissimilar race. This time GTC cars shared track with a little faster GTEs and much faster LMP2 prototypes. Kevin as a “gold” driver had to qualify the car but P5 in GTC class was definitely not what he and his team-mates hoped. Grégoire Demoustier then started the four-hour race for #98 and made a fabulous opening lap, taking the class lead as a result. About half an hour later race control announced that Grég’s start had been overly fabulous and he was handed a drive-through penalty for a jump start. At least he wasn’t the only one but #98 had dropped to P7 by the time Yann Goudy took over for the second stint.

He drove more or less OK until the spin. Worse than that, spin itself was a minor event as tyre was also punctured and #98 had to limp to the pits for a new rubber. The car dropped to P11 but when final hour begun, #98 was P9 again, albeit with a minimal hope to climb any higher. Then, just as Kevin finally got to the wheel two prototypes crashed heavily and Safety Car was deployed. Race was resumed with only 22 minutes to go and in heavy traffic Kevin managed to overtake two rivals. P7 in class was an absolute maximum considering drive-through and puncture. #98 did no less than 7 pitstops, while 5 was an average for the most competitors. Or using another words: speed was obviously there but too many dramas sent a good result out of the window.

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