The Signatech Nissan team received a reminder of the harsh realities of sportscar racing at Sebring yesterday when they were forced to retire just shy of the three hour mark. GT Academy winner, Jordan Tresson, will have to wait until Spa now to make his FIA World Endurance Championship race debut.
It was Franck Mailleux who took the start, amongst a grid over 60 cars, swollen by the merging of the FIA WEC and American Le Mans Series runners at this event. Starting from the fourth place he earned in qualifying, Mailleux had a good opening run and soon moved up into a podium scoring position.
Next up was Olivier Lombard who also ran strongly and took another position. It was whilst running well in second that the Frenchman was the first to come across a newly-dropped patch of oil on the track, which sent him into an unavoidable spin. He was ready to gather it up and go again when he was collected by a Ferrari GT car that had come around and spun on the same patch of oil, causing race-ending damage to the car.
Signatech Nissan team boss, Philippe Sinault was naturally disappointed with the early retirement.
“We were ideally placed after two hours of racing and the car was on the pace,” said Sinault. “We will double our efforts between now and Spa to be able to fight with our rivals, no matter how tough the competition is.”
He may not have got to drive in the race itself but Jordan Tresson spent a good amount of time on track at Sebring, impressing the team boss with his performance, especially when on track with so much traffic.
“After all of the testing and training I was really looking forward to my first stint in the race,” explained Tresson. “But a race incident changed all that and spoiled the party. I was not doing too badly, and was able to work with the team for the whole week. Even if the race is over for us, we are already thinking of the next race, studying our rivals’ strategy until the end.”