RLR MSport classified third in the 2022 European Le Mans Series (ELMS) 4 Hours of Le Castellet (15-18 April) with Nick Adcock, Michael Jensen and Alex Kapadia.
British Pro Kapadia recorded a 1m49.347s to bag a front row start for the #5 RLR MSport crew, and South Africa-domiciled Bronze driver Adcock did well to stand his ground in second position during the frantic first racing lap of Circuit Paul Ricard on Sunday (17 April).
Thereafter, Adcock was gently shuffled down the order to fourth during the opening 45 minutes, which were affected by no less than three Safety Cars, the second of which was deployed in response to an incident involving Horst Jr Felbermayr in the #15 Ligier JSP320, which sustained race-ending damage in a collision with the wall.
RLR MSport switched out Adcock for Jensen shortly after the third neutralisation, and the Danish Bronze progressed from ninth to seventh despite feeling under the weather, before passing the controls of the #5 Ligier to Kapadia at mid-distance.
By consistently matching the class leaders’ for pace, Kapadia brought the #5 crew into the mix for a top six result during the third hour, only to pick up a couple of spots after the final round of scheduled pit stops.
Further gains were hard to come by with the top five lapping at a similar pace, but, while Kapadia received the chequered flag in fourth, post-race penalties meant he, Jensen and Adcock were promoted to third in the final ELMS 4 Hours of Le Castellet classification.
“I’m yet to analyse our performance but I always felt we were on for a podium, and to be classified third is satisfying,” said Kapadia. “Unfortunately, we did our final stop just before a Full Course Yellow, which may have helped some of our rivals, so to cross the line fourth was a solid result.
“Coaching Nick (Adcock) and Michael (Jensen) has been a pleasure, as both of them came on in every single session and to be third having only worked with each other for a week is really encouraging. My own performance was also very strong, as my pace up there among the quickest of the Pro drivers, and it was also nice for me to challenge myself by taking on qualifying and new-tyre runs.”
Kapadia added: “RLR MSport has been remarkable, because none of the focus and quality of work has been lost or diluted by running five cars across all three categories on the European Le Mans package. In fact, it has only strengthened the team because we all have more data and information to go on.”
Adcock said: “Everybody within RLR MSport works so well together and deserved a podium result, so I’d say I’m satisfied to be classified third. It’s very rare that I get in a car and immediately feel comfortable, but this was the case in Official Testing. I wouldn’t say it was completely effortless, but the team produced a great car that was relatively easy to drive.
“Alex (Kapadia did an absolutely fantastic job all week. Not only was he blisteringly quick, he coached Michael (Jensen) and myself exhaustively, and we saw results. Unfortunately, Michael picked up some sort of food poisoning and couldn’t drive to his normal level, but he managed his race stint remarkably well and I think third is very respectable under the circumstances.”