King’s Lynn driver Brundle helps team repeat World Endurance victory

Alex Brundle (left)
Alex Brundle (left)
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Lynn racing driver Alex Brundle helped JOTA Sport, operating this season under G-Drive Racing, make it back-to-back LMP2 victories in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The team managed a dominant performance in the 6 Hours of Shanghai on Sunday.

Brundle, Roman Rusinov and Will Stevens showed superb pace and tactical awareness throughout the Chinese race to bring the #26 ORECA 05-Nissan to the chequered flag with an advantage of over a minute on their nearest rivals.

From fourth on the LMP2 grid, British racer Brundle made up a place at the start and then made a decisive pass on Alex Lynn (Manor) and Nicolas Lapierre (Signatech Alpine) for the class lead ahead of his first round of pitstops.

Rusniov took over from Brundle just ahead of the two-hour mark, initially losing the advantage to the #30 car of Antonio Giovinazzi, but then re-claiming the top spot as the differing tyre strategies of the 2015 LMP2 champion and his rival played themselves out.

The Russian’s strong performance ensured that Stevens had an advantage of over 30 seconds when he climbed aboard the car at the three-and-a-half-hour mark.

Stevens stretched out even more of an advantage, lapping within fifteen hundredths of a second of the best LMP2 time of the day and crossing the line with a comfortable winning margin.

The Shanghai victory was the second in successive FIA WEC races for the JOTA Sport-run team and the third in four weekends that included them claiming the European Le Mans Series crown in Portugal last month.

G-Drive Racing remain third in the WEC LMP2 teams’ standings, but are now only 12 points behind the second-place squad (RGR Sport) with 26 points up for grabs at the season finale in Bahrain on November 19 at the 6 Hours of Bahrain.

Brundle said: “We had a really good start and I had the option to either push on and get ahead or conserve the tyres and stay behind.

“I knew we had the car that would let me run at the front so I got on with making the move.

“Because we were double-stinting the tyres, this affected the performance in the second stint, but overall it was the best strategy to choose and did gain the team some time.

“After that, Roman and Will both did a fantastic job and the team performed excellently in the pits all day long.”

Results & Points

LMP2 Race Result – Shanghai: 1 Brundle/Rusinov/Stevens G-Drive Racing ORECA 05-Nissan; 2 Blomqvist/Gelael/Giovinazzi ESM Ligier JS P2-Nissan; 3 Albuquerque/Gonzalez/Senna RGR Sport Ligier JS P2-Nissan.

2016 FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Drivers – After 8 Rounds: 1 Lapierre/Menezes/Richelmi 183; 11 Brundle 73.

Sam Hignett, Partner – JOTA Sport: “It has been a very good month for us with three wins and a title achieved. This is a big reflection on the team and how we operate. We executed a well-thought out and intelligent race. All three drivers did a superb job and I am very proud of every team member.

“We were denied some victories earlier in the season with some really unfortunate luck. Now though we have some good momentum and the target will be to finish second in the Teams’ and Drivers’ race. We will be going all out in Bahrain to make sure we get another maximum points score.”