17|10|2016 - 6 HOURS OF FUJI
Promising start for Merhi at 6 Hours of Fuji.
LONDON, 17 October 2016
Despite early promising signs, Roberto Merhi and the Manor #44 team had to settle for seventh place at this weekend’s 6 Hours of Fuji in Japan. Having spent much of the race vying for position at the front of the field, the team suffered a drive through penalty around the two-hour mark which meant that the car was eventually brought home in P7.
During Saturday’s qualifying, Roberto displayed excellent pace and the #44 car found itself in P4 during the session’s early stages. This was not a position that the team managed to maintain however as they started Sunday’s race from the third row.
Following the qualifying performance, Merhi was optimistic ahead of the weekend’s showpiece event.
“The car felt much better than in practices. I think we have improved in terms of speed in qualifying as we are closer than we have been and I am happy with the step we have taken. We will see in the race tomorrow as I think we are in a strong position.”
Merhi took to the track from the start for the #44 car and made an excellent start gaining three positions over the course of the first lap, rising into P3. Under instruction to save tyres, Roberto dropped to P5 but after the first round of the pit stops he duly made his way up to second place.
After the first driver change, the #44 car remained in second place until a drive through penalty saw them drop back to P8. Unfortunately for the team, as the race progressed, they were unable to claw back their previously gained positions and ended up having to settle for seventh place.
Merhi was satisfied with the pace that the team had been able to show throughout the weekend.
“The beginning of the race was good, we had to look after our tyres as we were double stinting where others weren’t. The second stint was really good and we showed strong pace again today.”
Manor Endurance Racing President and Sporting Director, Graeme Lowdon felt that the weekend represented a positive exercise for the team who had returned to running two cars.
“Although today was a tough race we are going away with a lot of positives now that we are back up to running two cars. Leaving Fuji with the LMP2 fastest lap shows our potential and has some reward for all the hard work that the team has put in.”
Next up for the Manor Endurance Racing team is the 6 Hours of Shanghai on the 6th of November.