Flying Finn Konsta Lappalainen has risen into leading position at International GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Championship series. In second round of the series, which was driven in french circuit of Paul Ricard, he, as well as his team mates were in excellent pace at practice and qualifyings as well in the race. Superb performance in qualifying deliverd 11th position in starting grid.
Lappalainen had opening stint for his Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo which is run by Swiss Emil Frey Racing. In one hour stint he was able to pass four drivers and was in steady 7th position just before coming to drivers change. However in final lap of his stint he encountered a puncture and was forced to slow down for not breaking the car.
After losing 30 seconds he managed to get back to service area for drivers and wheel change as well as for refuel. Fellow Finn Tuomas Tujula continued the race and was also having a superb stint. However in 30 minutes of intense racing same rear wheel exploded and car started to spin out from the circuit area. The car hit heavily into barriers and therefore it was game over. Lappalainen, Tujula and South-African Stuart White were forced to retire the race from leading position in group of Silver Cup.
– In two practice sessions we managed to find a very suitable setup for very fast-paced and tricky french circuit of Paul Richard. This performance was shown in qualifyings as we were able to do our best. Then in the race I enjoyed a lot as I was able to challenge and pass nine-times MotoGP Champion Valentino Rossi. However then just before coming into pits I encountered a puncture and as my team mate Tuomas Tujula encountered another, we had to force retire the race, dissapointed Lappalainen tells.
– Despite retirement I’m very happy for the performance of the team and its’ drivers. Now we have to analyze the reasons for punctures because we cannot continue like this as our sister car also suffered a puncture. On the other hand it was very, very and very hot weather as we competed in tricky 31 degrees which kept the circuit as hot like in hell. Still the tyres should last one our stint and not 30 minutes as we now experience, Lappalainen continued.
Next round of GT World Challenge Endurance series is to be driven in final weekend of July at Belgium circuit of SPA-Francorchamps as teams and drivers face the ultimate 24 hours of racing. Before SPA-Francorchamps Lappalainen spends midnight summer in Dutch circuit of Zandvoort as next round of even more competitive ADAC GT Masters gets underway.
There were altogether four finnish drivers competing in six hours and 1000 kilometres race of Paul Ricard. Lappalainen, Tujula and Axel Blom had to retire the event. Attempto Racing Audi driver Juuso Puhakka collect 10th position in overall and 7th position in PRO-group after starting from 26th position.
1. Daniel Serra (BRA) & Davide Rigon (ITA) & Antonio Fuoco (ITA), Ferrari 488 GT3, 176 laps
2. Nicklas Nielsen (DEN) & James Calado (GBR) & Miguel Molina (ESP), Ferrari 488 GT3, +7,829s
3. Raffaele Marciello (SUI) & Daniel Juncadella (ESP) & Jules Gounon (FRA), Mercedes AMG GT3 Evo, +8,668s
ret. Konsta Lappalainen (FIN) & Tuomas Tujula (FIN) & Stuart White (RSA), Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, puncture & crash
1. Al Faisal Al Zubair (OMA) & Axcil Jefferies (ZIM) & Fabian Schiller (GER), 43p
2. Thomas Neubauer (FRA) & Benjamin Goethe (POL) & Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer (FRA), 41p
3. Thomas Drouet (FRA) & Tommaso Mosca (ITA) & Casper Stevenson (GBR), 15p
12. Konsta Lappalainen (FIN) & Tuomas Tujula (FIN) & Stuart White (SFA), 2p