Sam leads G-Drive Racing to victory at Silverstone
It was a one-two finish for G-Drive Racing at the 6 Hours of Silverstone, a first for the Russian team in the FIA WEC, with Sam leading the way in the #26 Ligier JS P2 to take the chequered flag a full lap ahead of the sister #28 machine in second place.
Starting on the front row of the LM P2 grid, the G-Drive cars briefly lost the lead of the race on the opening lap. However, in less than twenty minutes, Sam had regained top spot and from there, he and team mates Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal gradually extended their lead, creating an insurmountable gap to their rivals.
With each driver double-stinting, Sam was back in the car for the final stages, taking the flag as the LMP2 winner and in sixth place overall.
The G-Drive Racing cars proved quick all weekend, not only topping the practice and qualifying sessions but also setting the two fastest laps of the race, with Sam fastest of all in 1:50:045.
Sam said: "Today was race day at Silverstone, my first race with G-Drive Racing in LMP2, and it couldn't have gone any better. We've had a one-two finish, with car 26 coming home with the win and car 28 second. I couldn't have dreamt of a better start to the season, so congratulations to everybody involved with G-Drive Racing."
Team-mate Roman Rusinov said: "It's a great start of the season. We did a spectacular race and it was not an easy one as our sister car was really fast. It was an important challenge to manage traffic with no risk in Silverstone but we all did a great job. Sam did the perfect job today so I have to say thank you to him and also to Julien who was also very good. The team did a fantastic job - thanks to all our crew as this victory it's a great recompense for a strong involvement of each person in the team."
And Team Principal Philippe Dumas added: "It's a good demonstration of teamwork between the team and the drivers and of our car, the Ligier JS P2. I'm very pleased with the way we've worked during the winter tests and how we approached this race. We've really progressed in all areas - organisation, people, strategy, confidence, and that's what I'm going to retain from this weekend. There are still some small details to improve on, but it's part of our work and of races to be able to improve something. It's a nice reward for the amount of work we've done on this car and we're going to continue."