Silverstone, April 20 (IANS) Indian racing driver Karun Chandhok reeled off four fastest laps in a row, but a puncture cost his team Murphy Prototypes a definite podium finish in the opening round of the European Le Mans (ELMS) race here. The team recovered from 28th position to finish eighth as Murphy Prototypes set the pace.
Rodolfo Gonzalez started the race for Murphy Prototypes Saturday night and by the first corner, he had moved into second position. Approaching the end of his stint, his Hertz Car Sales Oreca 03 Nissan car suffered a puncture that ultimately cost the team a possible podium finish.
Gonzalez brought the car back to the pits as carefully as he could, but the damaged bodywork meant the team had to bring the car into the garage for further repairs.
Alex Kapadia took over driving duties after the team performed a superb repair job on the car. Returning to the track in 28th position, Kapadia drove well and was the fastest car on the circuit for the majority of his stint.
Towards the second half of the race, the safety car was deployed to aid the recovery of the stricken Jota Sport Zytek. Kapadia quickly pitted to hand over to Chandhok for the final stint.
Chandhok set a blistering pace with four fastest laps in row and ultimately recording the fastest lap of the race, but it was too late. Crossing the finish line after four hours, the Indian driver brought the car home in eighth position.
Once again Murphy Prototypes have proven themselves as the fastest LMP2 team in the championship with one of the strongest driver combinations. Chandhok was the fastest of the 112 drivers on track.
Chandhok, supported by JK Tyre and Tag Heuer, along with Sidvin and the AVT Group, was happy with his performance despite limited time in the car.
“It was a really frustrating day to be honest as we had the pace to win. I had four fastest laps in a row and Rodolfo and Alex had really good pace.
“Rodolfo had a puncture which unfortunately came without warning and destroyed a lot of the bodywork, so that was it and put us out of contention.
“It’s a shame, but at least we know we are quick and hopefully we can go to Imola and Le Mans with a lot of confidence and hopefully get a result there,” said Chandhok.