Bad luck with closed pits costs early track position
Le Mans, France, (June 15, 2019) - WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Toni Vilander (Kankaanpää, Finland), and Rob Smith (Essex, UK) are running the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the Circuit de la Sarthe in France.
Vilander had the wheel of the No. 62 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari for the start of the twice around the clock classic. As the early hours ticked away the Fin was able to drive up to fifth. Just as he was about to pit a yellow flag flew and the pits were closed. Low on fuel without enough to make it around the 8.46-mile (448-miles) Circuit de la Sarthe circuit again, per the rules, he had to pit for just five-seconds of fuel, but he then had to come back in the next green lap. This has cost the team several times so far, giving up valuable track position.
"Interesting start of the race," Vilander said. "The WeatherTech Racing Ferrari has a very good pace and I could pick up a few spots in the first few laps. Once in the race rhythm I was able to put us in a better position. We got a little unlucky, twice, with yellow flags where we had to pit twice. We need to keep hammering and no mistakes!"
"My first double stint was really good," MacNeil said. "The WeatherTech Ferrari is really good. We need to stay out of trouble, especially with the prototypes as they are running like it is the last lap. That is expected here with those guys. Rob is in now and we are running in the top five with a long way to go."
"The pace was good at the start of the stint," Smith said. "We caught the JMW car and then the safety car. We got lucky on the first one and then unlucky on the second. We had some rain and sun, bit of everything. Felt like a long two hours. Long way to go and we are in the hunt."
The 24 Hours of Le Mans took the green flag at 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. ET) and is being televised live on MotorTrend TV.