22 August, 2010
Andrew Kirkaldy and Tim Mullen finished round four of the 2010 Le Mans Series in second place at the Hungaoring in Budapest tonight. The CRS duo clearly illustrated the fact that the LMS GT2 class is the place to go if you want close racing, with Kirkaldy in particular having a nail-biting battle with the race-winning Porsche in the closing stages that brought him tantalisingly close to the top spot.
Mullen started the race in third place in the No.91 Ferrari and immediately moved up to second. He pulled out a good gap to third and as the race settled in for the night the CRS car was looking good in second place. Kirkaldy too had a trouble-free run and held onto second, behind the Fisichella/Alesi/Vilander Ferrari. During Mullen’s second run he found himself in a ding-dong battle for the lead with Jean Alesi.
“It’s good to have former F1 stars in the championship as you can have a good, ! fair fight with them on the track,” said Mullen. “It’s also very satisfying to pass them, which I did with a big smile on my face!”
The No.91 car kept the class lead until the final pit stops when a lightning stop by the No.77 Porsche propelled it into the top spot.
“For some reason those Porsches can do really fast stops,” said Mullen. “Our guys are really fast so I don’t understand how they managed to jump us. On the subject of the team can I just say well done to the CRS boys who worked through the night to change our engine. They did a brilliant job and they deserve this result tonight.”
With the No.77 Porsche ahead it was down to CRS Team Principal, Andrew Kirkaldy, to hunt it down and go for the win. It was a thrilling ending and Kirkaldy made sure the Porsche’s mirrors were full of Ferrari throughout the closing stages.
“Second is a fantastic result for CRS,” he said. “It was a difficult weekend for everyone and the guys have worked incredibly hard and d! eserve a great deal of praise. We had the opportunity to go for the win tonight but unfortunately when I came across the No.88 Porsche, which was a lap down, he thought it would be good to hold us up by braking in odd places. We’re pleased though that we have now shown we can turn the good pace we have had all year into a top result and it’s a great platform to lead us into the season finale at Silverstone.”
The sister No.90 CRS Ferrari of Phil Quaife and Pierre Ehret was also on for a good result tonight. Quaife started from 12th on the grid and blasted right thorough to eighth at the start. By the end of his stint he was up to sixth place before pitting to hand over to Pierre Ehret. A good run by the German saw him run as high as seventh before Quaife jumped in again. Both drivers had great pace tonight but unfortunately the charge was stalled after 136 laps when contact with a prototype holed! a radiator and the No.90 Ferrari had to pit for repairs. Again, the CRS team did a great job to turn the car around in just 40 minutes and the Ehret/Quaife Ferrari rejoined the race to come home in 12th.
Next up for the CRS GT team is the Autosport 1000kms of Silverstone, the home LMS race for the team, in just three weeks’ time.