Fredrik Lestrup will join Besaplast Racing for his ninth 24-hour race and his third start in the Barcelona 24-hours this weekend. The race, currently running qualifying and night training during Friday evening, will start on Saturday at 12 am for a full run around the clock.
Fredrik Lestrup is present with Besaplast Racing team to defend their class victory in the A2 class from last year as well as improve on their impressive fifth overall position. Last year they were in contention for a very impressive third place in the final hours in the MINI against much more powerful machinery when they hit mechanical problem and had to pit, costing them enough time to fall to an nevertheless impressive fifth place overall.
But Fredrik also has a second duty on his hands in this year’s event as he has entered his own team, Fredrik Lestrup Racing, in the race running another MINI John Cooper Works S in the same class. Fredrik will not drive the car himself and has a team running the car for its four drivers but will keep a close eye on the fortunes of his own team as well as leading the Besaplast Racing Team entry.
“It’s great to be back at Barcelona again for my third 24-hour race here and my ninth 24-hour, all of the except one with Besaplast Racing,” Fredrik says. “We are of course going here with high hopes for Besaplast Racing given our success here last year. But this year is extra interesting for me as I will also have my own team entered in the race. As I will drive myself for Besaplast Racing I will not be able to look after my own team during the race obviously but there is a great team of people running it and helping our drivers have a great 24-hour experience. My own team and Besaplast Racing will share a pit box so I will be able to keep a close eye on their progress during the weekend though. It will for sure be a new and interesting experience to race in a race against my own team in the same class but I’m looking forward to it!”
Live-timing, live Twitter updates and results during the qualifying, night practice and race can be found at http://live.24hseries.com/
After completing the first four race weekends of the season Fredrik Lestrup has decided to leave Dunlop V8 Supercars and the Pacific Hoists R-Sport team ahead of this weekend’s race in Ipswich. Having debuted at the Adelaide weekend and recently posting his most successful race weekend in Dunlop V8 Supercars at Townsville, commitments elsewhere and a budget shortfall have unfortunately put an end to Fredrik’s championship after four weekends.
“It has been my biggest challenge yet and a long term dream come true to race in Australia but unfortunately I have had to realize it’s no longer possible for me to continue,” Fredrik says. “It has not been possible to raise the required budget to continue and this in addition to other commitments back home means I have had to end my Australian season earlier than planned. It’s been a tough but very enjoyable experience and we have been closer and closer every weekend to getting into the top 10 despite no testing and limited running. I have learnt a lot about driving these cars and have been encouraged by the progress we have been able to make.”
Fredrik especially wants to thank everyone involved and wishes the team the best of luck for the remaining race weekends.
“A big thanks to all the partners that have made this possible. Especially Pacific Hoists who had some fantastic events together with us but also CEJN, Halda, R-Sports Race Engineering, Licht & Harmonie and everyone else involved. It has been a great experience and I wish the team and Brett Hobson who will take over the 44 car from me the best of luck for the rest of the season.”
Fredrik will continue to race in Europe this year with some additional races to be announced later.
At the street circuit in Townsville Fredrik Lestrup had his best Dunlop V8 Supercars weekend of the season result wise last weekend with a 13th and 16th position in the two races. Fredrik was happy with the progress.
“We continue to make progress and getting closer to our potential despite no testing during the season so I think we should be happy with the results this weekend,” Fredrik says. “We’ve not been able to crack the top 10 quite yet but this weekend we were closer than we’ve been so far.”
In the first race Fredrik climbed from 22nd position on the grid to a 13th position in the race, taking advantage of a final lap collision in the final corner to make up the last few positions. In the second race he started 19th and managed to climb to 16th at the finish line.
“It was another new track and another new street circuit so it was difficult to know what to expect before the weekend. My main priority was to have two clean races and keep the car in one piece and get a lot of running. We definitely achieved that with hardly a scratch on the car and two ok results and the most points we’ve scored from a weekend so far this year. The track was a lot of fun to drive, despite being a street circuit it felt like a proper race circuit but with close barriers. Overall a positive weekend with a lot of guests from Pacific Hoists, Bullivants and CEJN to support us,” Fredrik summarizes.
After the weekend Fredrik is now 17th overall in the standings.
Full results from Townsville and championship standings:
Dunlop V8 Supercars Championship:
Fredrik Lestrup together with Besaplast team mates Franjo Kovac, Kurt Thiim and Martin Tschornia repeated last years success with a victory in the SP4T class in the Audi TT RS and they also placed an impressive 24th overall in the 178 car field with over 30 GT3 cars entered.
“We are very happy with this result although our goal was to get into the top 20 overall this year, but a class victory again, 24th overall and with a completely undamaged car is a great result,” Fredrik said afterwards.
Unlike last year this was a race held in completely dry conditions which meant the pace was high from the start and several manufacturer teams ran into problems. The Besaplast team however managed to steer the Audi through the red mist and finish not only top in class and just one place below their overall position last year but also with a completely faultless and undamaged car, no mean feat at this notorious and challenging track.
Drama at night
The race was not without its drama though for the crew and it was Fredrik Lestrup that ended up with most of it. He was due for a double stint in the night, going out at 1 am for an almost three hour long stint and then planned for at least another double stint later in the early morning. But those plans were scrapped when Fredrik was struck with food poisoning in just the second lap of the stint. He managed to keep going for one and a half hour, 9 laps, before he had to give up and turn the car over. This kept Fredrik out of the race until the final hour when he could get back in to drive it home to the finish.
“It’s something I’ve never experienced before and the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do,” Fredrik explained. “I had done my normal preparation before a double stint at night, I had some rest, ate well before and just relaxed but I must have eaten something that didn’t agree with me and I felt it after just one lap. To be so sick and still drive at this track with all the elevations, bumps and fast corners was the biggest challenge I’ve ever had to do.”
Fredrik had to drive an almost complete stint, 9 laps in about one and a half hour before he could turn the car over.
“Unfortunately none of my team mates was able to replace me straight away so I had to try and survive as long as possible until they were ready to take over. It cost me all my strength and it took me until Sunday afternoon to recover to a state where I was able to drive again. A special thanks to my fellow Swede Richard Göransson who helped me out with some fluid replacement. The plan before the race was for me to do most of the driving in the night which I really enjoy but now my team mates had to step in instead despite having already driven one stint each before midnight. They did an absolutely fantastic job and I can’t praise them enough and explain how impressed I was with how they stepped up. I could tell they were quite tired in the end so I really wanted to get back in the car and let them have some rest. This result really is all thanks to them, what a team this is!”
Good result in the end
Fredrik could get back in the car to drive the final hour of the race and bring the car home.
“It feels a bit bad to take the last stint after all the work they had to do when I was out of the race for so long, but I’m glad I got the chance to drive a third stint. This race and this place is so special and I enjoy driving here a lot so it feels great to end this race with a positive feeling. A big thanks to the entire Besaplast team and my fellow team mates for another great result together. We didn’t quite reach our goal of a top 20 finish but we won the class again and we once again drove very competitive and with quick lap times and brought the car back home without a scratch. We should feel very proud of this and I hope to be back again next year but hopefully without getting sick. Nürburgring always delivers something unexpected!”
Fredrik Lestrup now heads back to Australia for the fourth round of the Dunlop V8 Supercar Series, the Townsville 500 held in the streets of Townsville first weekend in July.
Complete results, Nürburgring 24H 2014:
Photo: Martin Palm
Fredrik Lestrup will start from 48th position overall and second in the SP4T class in the 2014 Nürburgring 24 hours. He is driving the Besaplast Audi TT-RS #110 with team mates Franjo Kovac, Kurt Thiim and Martin Tschornia.
Despite forecasts predicting sun and clear skies there’s been the typical Nürburgring weather with everything from sun to rainy conditions during the two practice and qualifying days. Fredrik has so far only driven the two mandatory laps during the three sessions held on Thursday and Friday.
“I’ve never driven so few laps ahead of this race before,” Fredrik says. “But we’ve had no reasons to do a lot of laps in practice and qualifying. We’ve been here many times before and are well prepared. We have the same driver line-up and the same car as last year and have only focused on preparing the car and the team for the race. I also got a lot of hours in the car in the race at Zandvoort so we are more prepared than it might look. I’m looking forward to the race, the weather has as usual been completely unpredictable and we are prepared for anything. I look forward to get starting for real tomorrow afternoon and now it’s a quiet evening at the hotell to prepare for tomorrow.”