Indian racing star Karun Chandhok and his JRM Racing’s increasing promise went unrewarded in today’s Six Hours of Bahrain. The #22 HPD ARX-03a driven by David Brabham, Peter Dumbreck and Karun Chandhok had qualified in P3 in the privateers’ class for today’s inaugural FIA World Endurance Championship race in the Middle East and had high hopes of a podium finish, however electrical gremlins hit just a handful of laps into the race.
Karun Chandhok had started the six hours but the car developed a problem with the chassis electronics inside the one-hour mark. Chandhok was running in a strong 4th place and was setting competitive lap times on old tyres compared his rivals. The team tried to reset all systems but could not fully regain the data needed to run the car. After 50 laps the #22 came into the pits to effect full repairs but after just one lap back on track, this time with Peter Dumbreck, it became clear that the car required more fundamental work.
The car returned to the garage for the team to conduct repairs and rejoined with one hour 10 minutes remaining, but was forced to retire shortly afterwards. Post race the problem was traced to a faulty loom section, which the team will work to fully resolving prior to the next event in Japan.
Karun Chandhok, commented, “The race started OK and I was running behind Jonny [Kane]. I was a little bit slower than him, but this was as expected as I was managing the tyres very carefully. Then in my second stint the race started to come to me – I was quicker than the other guys on used tyres and I think we could have had a good race. However very early on in the first stint I lost the power to the dash and the guys had no telemetry, which is critical for the engine and also knowing where we are on fuel consumption. We pitted quite conservatively and lost time as we were caught speeding in the pitlane – the pitlane limiter didn’t work due to the electrical problem. From then on we tried to reset but it didn’t work out. Sometimes it’s like that, unfortunately.
Nigel Stepney, team manager and chief engineer, said, “What can we say – things happen when we are going well! We are not 100% certain of why the chassis electronics failed in the first instance, but an on-track reset didn’t work and we had to pull the car into the garage to change the control systems. When that proved ineffective, we had lost too many laps to score points so we decided to fully understand the issue so we don’t have a reoccurrence in Fuji.
James Rumsey, team principal, commented, “It’s disappointing that yet again we couldn’t realise our potential, but as a young team we are learning all the time about the car and its systems. With that comes a certain amount of risk, which we saw today. We will now focus on Fuji and hope that we can finally get a weekend we deserve.