Le Castellet


Points in Le Castellet: Patric Niederhauser finishes in Top Ten

Patric Niederhauser and Team Attempto Racing confirmed that they are on an upward trend in the third round of the Blancpain Endurance Cup. Having started from P25 on the grid, the official Lamborghini GT3 junior and his team-mates went on a frantic charge at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet and were even in the Top Six for a time. Niederhauser crossed the finish line in tenth place after an extremely eventful six hours to secure points for the third time this season.

Patric, you had a good showing with fifth-best time in the second segment of qualifying but only qualified 25th in the end. Why was that?
Qualifying actually went really well for me. However, I came across some traffic and had to overtake another car in the final corner. My team-mate Daniel Zampieri also did an equally good job in Q3 but found himself in traffic that was a fair bit heavier on his fastest lap, which ultimately cost him around three tenths. That can then easily make a difference of 15 places on the grid in such a strong field.

You showed a strong performance in the race and were towards the front of the field for a time.
Yes, my team-mates Daniel Zampieri and Fabio Babini both put in terrific stints before me. Fabio was the first to drive the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 and immediately moved up a couple of positions. Daniel too made a similarly strong start but had to ease off a bit during the race. We just couldn’t quite match the pace of the Top Eight. I took over the car in eleventh place for the final stint.

You fought your way up into the Top Ten. How did your stint go?
I gained two places to begin with. As things progressed, there was a contact with a slower car in front of me. I assumed he had seen me, but he suddenly moved to the inside as I was overtaking and I grazed his car slightly. It was my mistake, but that can easily happen on a track where there are so many cars. The stewards subsequently handed me a drive-through penalty for the incident, which obviously affected our race.

Was the drive-through penalty a little too harsh in your opinion?
Just a little perhaps, but the stewards were very strict and cracked down quite hard generally. Drivers were also severely punished for other manoeuvres, so it was the same for everyone in that respect. Eighth place might even have been possible but for the penalty. As regards speed, we can’t quite match the very best teams, though. Still, I was very pleased with my own race pace. I posted consistently fast times. Tenth place in such a strong field of riders definitely has to be a great achievement.

You are heading directly to Germany from France. You will be lining up at the Nürburgring within the context of the Blancpain Sprint Cup.
I’m particularly looking forward to this event, because the ADAC Truck Grand Prix is also be taking place that weekend, and there will be lots of people at the track. I really like the circuit. I expect that we’ll be at a slight disadvantage there, though, because we can only get up to about 260 km/h at most down the two main straights, and it’s only at that speed that we’re really strong. But a great deal is always still possible in the sprint races, which is why I hope that we’ll manage to finish in the points again at the Nürburgring.