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PODIUM WITHIN REACH: TATIANA AND TEAM VIRAGE SHOWED STRONG PERFORMANCE

Tatiana Calderón continued her European Le Mans Series campaign in last weekend’s second round at Paul Ricard, where bad luck denied her and her Team Virage teammates the chance of a strong result.


After a long three-month break since the opening race at Barcelona, Tatiana and her teammates aboard the #19 Oreca 07-Gibson, Ian Rodriguez and Alexander Mattschull, strowed strong pace at the French track but were not classified at the finish.


Bronze-rated Mattschull, standing in for an injured Rob Hodes for the weekend, did an excellent job in qualifying to put Team Virage sixth on the grid in the competitive LMP2 Pro/Am class. He stayed aboard the car for the first hour of the race, climbing to third before handing over to Tatiana a little over an hour into the four-hour contest.


Tatiana maintained a solid rhythm during her first stint, but on the lap she was due to come into the pits, the safety car was called. Under ELMS rules, the pitlane is closed during caution periods and only a five-second ‘emergency’ refuelling stop can be carried out, which forced the Colombian back into the pits for a full service after just five laps.


Following that setback, Tatiana remained at the wheel for two more stints, handing over the car to Rodriguez with just over one hour, 10 minutes left on the clock. Rodriguez kept up the good work and was on course to bring home the car inside the top six until the fuel alarm started flashing on the final lap of the race.


With no working radio, Rodriguez was unaware that the race was about to finish, and instead of crossing the chequered flag, he came into the pits. As the #19 car was deemed to have completed the final lap, Tatiana and her teammates were not classified finishers.


Tatiana Calderón: “The end result was very disappointing, but we have to look at the positives. All three of us showed good pace and a podium finish could have been on the cards, but unfortunately when I was finishing my first stint, the safety car came out on the lap I had to pit for fuel. We had to do a splash and stop again, so we lost a lot of time there. There was also something weird going on with the refuelling, because we lost a lot of time in the pits. Even so, we were still on course to finish P6, but there was a miscalculation on fuel, Ian had no radio communication and stopped one lap before the end of the race, and so we lost everything. It’s very unfortunate but we showed we can be fighting for good results. We just need to analyse the mistakes we made so we don’t make them again in the future. Nevertheless, it was positive to show we can fight for the top five.”


The third round of the European Le Mans Series season will take place at the Motorland Aragon circuit in northeastern Spain on August 26.



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