Nicolas Lapierre: LMP2 debut win 'a wonderful end' to drama-filled weekend for Cool Racing
Nicolas Lapierre and Antonin Borga took victory in LMP2 during last weekend's 4 Hours of Silverstone, despite being forced to race without injured team-mate Alexandre Coigny.
Coigny suffered an injury in Saturday's European Le Mans Series round, when his ORECA 07-Gibson collided with Duqueine Engineering's LMP2 machine, sidelining the bronze-rated driver with suspected fractures to his pelvis.
As a result, Lapierre and Borga were forced to compete as a duo and picked up the first LMP2 win for a duo since 2012, when Sam Hancock and Simon Dolan won the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps for JOTA.
Lapierre and Borga finished ahead of the #36 Signatech Alpine A470-Gibson of Andre Negrao, Pierre Ragues and Thomas Laurent. The #29 Racing Team Nederland ORECA 07-Gibson of Job van Uitert, Giedo van der Garde and Frits van Eerd started from pole to take third.
"It was very chaotic for us, this race," Lapierre commented in the post-race press conference. "First us of all we had to race with the two of us, which was not the plan. It was a bit hard for us to leave Alex on the side after his unfortunate crash yesterday. So we had to keep the whole team focused and motivated. Even though he was not in the car, he was with us the whole race on the side."
The team's debut victory seemed on shaky grounds in the late stages. The team was handed a drive-through penalty for a full course yellow infraction, which dropped the team's lead over Racing Team Nederland's Frits van Eerd from 40 to 20 seconds, before making a late unplanned stop for a punctured rear tyre. In the end, silver-rated Borga was able to hold off bronze-rated Van Eerd, before the Dutchman was relegated to third on the final lap.
"Yeah, first we get a puncture, a drivethrough, another puncture at the end, so a lot of events but great strategy from the team," Lapierre continued. The conditions were hard, we fought back and took the lead again. And then we opened a gap and win the first race for the team.
So after the race yesterday, the drama yesterday, it’s a wonderful end. Yesterday night we were all very sad for what happened in the ELMS race and Alex’s injuries, but today I’m very proud of the team"