Inter Europol Take Maiden WEC Win in Style
Inter Eurpol Competition took a famous and highly popular debut WEC victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as Jakub Śmiechowski, Fabio Scherer and Albert Costa took a highly accomplished victory.
The team had claimed their first ever WEC podium at Spa last month and used that momentum to enjoy an impressive race where they made few mistakes, came through the pack and led for most of the race from dawn onwards.
Both Costa and Scherer came under intense pressure in the final few hours from the No.41 Team WRT Oreca-Gibson as first Robert Kubica and then Louis Deletraz chipped away at the gap to the yellow and green car.
Deletraz indeed came to within eight seconds in the final hour before Scherer dug deep and was able to repel the attack.
Swiss ace Scherer even fought off the pain of a bizarre injury he sustained when the No.33 Corvette Racing car inadvertently ran over his left foot during a round of pitstops in the first hour.
At that stage Scherer believed his Le Mans to be over but he fought on and cemented his, and his teammates drives, instantly gained a legendary cult status.
The team even held its nerves during several investigations in to pit stops to come home 21-seconds ahead of the WRT entry driven by Kubica, Deletraz and Rui Andrade.
In winning, Inter Europol Competition became the first Polish team to win in the WEC and thrust in to title contention for the rest of the 2023 season.
Completing the podium was the first of the ELMs entrants as the Duqueine Racing trio of Neel Jani, Rene Binder and Nicolas Pino took the French teams best ever Le Mans result in LMP2 at Le Mans.
Jani has led the race in the early morning period and the team capitalised in the final hour when the second No.31 Team WRT entry driven by Robin Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg and Sean Gelael had to pit for a new front bodywork section.
That dropped Frijns down to a frustrated fifth at the chequered flag behind the No.36 Alpine ELF Team trio of Charles Milesi, Julien Canal and Matthieu Vaxiviere.
IDEC Sport rounded out the top six with Paul Loup Chatin, Laurents Horr and Paul Lafargue at wheel of ‘Delage’ tribute car that started the class from pole on Saturday afternoon.
Both of the United Autosports LMP2 entries had tough races with the No.22 car suffering early race damage after an incident between Frederick Lubin and the No.77 Dempsey Proton Porsche 911 RSR-19 caused a large amount of damage.
The sister car also sustained damage late on Saturday evening when Tom Blomqvist, just after taking the lead of the class, crashed at the Porsche Curves. Both cars fought back and finished eighth (No.23) and 11th (No.22).
The Le Mans result means that Deletraz, Kubica and Andrade take the initiative in the standings and lead the Inter Europol Competition trio by four points heading to Monza