Harold Primat and HTP Motorsport overcame an intermittent electrical problem to finish a battling sixth overall in round two of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Silverstone this afternoon (May 25).
The Swiss ace, who was joined by racing legend Bernd Schneider and regular team-mate Nico Verdonck in the Pro Cup-entered #84 Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, likely had the pace to finish fourth behind the all-conquering Bentley and McLarens, but in the end was satisfied to reach the finish and score more solid points after a largely difficult weekend.
Primat’s HTP Motorsport squad had never visited Silverstone before and were relying on dry conditions for Saturday’s free practice to hone their car’s set-up. Instead, heavy rain made for an extremely difficult session and saw the team head into the damp but drying pre-qualifying largely none the wiser.
After also being compromised during Sunday morning’s qualifying session proper, Primat was happy to line-up seventh overall for the afternoon’s three-hour race. Verdonck took the start and, having enjoyed a strong first hour behind the wheel, handed the car over to Harold in fifth.
That was as high as the Mercedes would run however after an intermittent electrical problem, which was eventually traced to a loose fuse, first set off a variety of warning lights on the dashboard and then cut power to the engine. Losing drive on several occasions was enough for the Mercedes to drop a lap down before the problem could be rectified.
Fortunately, Primat was soon back up to speed once the issue had been sorted and lapped well until pitting from 10th at the end of the second hour, where Schneider was waiting to climb aboard.
Soon after, HTP’s luck took a turn for the better when a Safety Car period helped the SLS AMG GT3 reclaim its lost lap. Now back in amongst the other Pro Cup entries, it wasn’t long before Schneider was able to pick off a number of rivals before eventually chasing home the sister HTP Mercedes for a well-earned sixth place finish.
“It’s been a mixed weekend for us so when you look at everything that we’ve had to overcome I’m pretty satisfied to at least score another good result and put more points on the board,” said Primat. “We’d come here hoping to be on the podium but, after seeing the pace of Bentley and McLaren, fourth was realistically the best we could have achieved.
“Having never raced at Silverstone before, Saturday was always going to be really important for the team. But the weather had other ideas, meaning we didn’t have a chance to sort out a proper race set-up. To qualify seventh was therefore quite encouraging and, without the electrical problem, I think we had the potential to finish a little higher. Nico was P5 when he pitted, after all.
“Electrical problems are just about the worst thing you can have go wrong, but we were lucky in some respects because the fault was traced reasonably quickly. Even so, it still meant we lost a lap, which effectively ended any hopes we had. It was very frustrating but these things happen. Hopefully we can make amends at the next race.”
Round three of this season’s Blancpain Endurance Series takes place at Paul Ricard on June 27/28. That’s just one week after Primat and HTP Motorsport face the fearsome Nordschleife for the Nurburgring 24 Hours.