August 22, 2016

 

STAX Racing continue their review of their 2016 World GT season.

After the 2016 World GT series ended in July, here's STAX Racing's follow up report to their midseason report published on May, 28th:

The second half of the 2016 GPVWC World GT Series kicked off on the Brno Circuit. STAX Racing went into the race meet with confidence high following podium finishes in the previous two rounds thanks to Carlos Andres Ladines. Diego Carranza was also looking to stretch his points finishing run to four races and continue to help STAX Racing maintain their strong standing in the team's championship.
Qualifying saw the team pick up where they left off with a competitive showing from both drivers, Ladines taking 5th on the timesheet and 4th on the grid whilst Carranza set the 11th best time but started inside the top ten, in 9th position. This meant STAX Racing had both cars inside the top ten on the grid for the first time ever in their short existence.
Things got even better in the race, with Ladines once again taking the bottom step of the podium with a fantastic third place, his third in as many races. Carranza rounded off a fantastic team result with 11th and 5 more valuable points, keeping STAX Racing well in the hunt for a top five result in the championship standings, whilst Ladines' run of podiums solidified his place in the battle for best of the rest with the likes of Thomas Jacobs (TSA) and Nico Barclay (Scuderia Basilea).

In the build-up to the sixth race in Silverstone, Diego Carranza told the team that he would be unavailable to race. This meant that, at the penultimate round of the 2016 World GT Series, Geoffrey Fournier would race in Diego's place instead. This marked Fournier's second start for the team, after he started in the inaugural race of the season. With limited testing beforehand, he did well to qualify in P13 while Carlos Andres Ladines started from sixth position.
After a frantic start, the two STAX Racing drivers were running very close to each other in P6 and P7. As the field settled down, they gained another place and looked to continue the team's record of consistent finishes in the points. With seven minutes to go, just as the first Ferraris in front of the STAX Racing cars were beginning to pit, the race was red flagged because of a mass disconnect. This meant that Ladines finished the cut-short race in P5, followed by Fournier in P6.
The results confirmed STAX Racing would most probably finish in the top five for their debut series, whilst Ladines further cemented his own top five ambitions in the drivers championship with the finale next up!

The final race of STAX Racing's debut season took place on the drivers' and fans' favourite Circuit of the Americas for the American round of the 2016 World GT Series. Whilst the titles were beyond STAX Racing's reach, there was still plenty to race for - especially in the team standings where a season long battle with Scuderia Basilea would finally be settled.
Things got off with a mixed start in qualifying, with Carlos Andres Ladines again leading the charge with third on the grid, his second best qualifying performance after his second place at Belgium. Geoffrey Fournier started from the back of the grid due to a penalty from the previous race. The saving grace was a reduced turnout for the final round of the year, meaning the Frenchman started 16th, one place outside of the points paying positions. During the race, he was slowly gaining places until he had an incident with Epic Racing's Christoph Lichtenstein. While Lichtenstein showed good sportsmanship and allowed Fournier a re-pass, the gap to P11 was too big for the Frenchman to close down in the end and he finished the last race of the season in P12.
Ladies returned to the podium with his most competitive display of the year. After a stellar start, he found himself in first place before the first corner. Thomas Jacobs however was following him very closely in the opening part of the race and Ladines was unable to gain a big lead over the TSA driver. Ultimately that lead to Ladines losing concentration and Jacobs was able to pass him on lap 7. In the following laps, the STAX Racing driver tried to follow Jacobs without consuming too much fuel, allowing him to lead by not more than 2 seconds. In the last third of the race, ST Racing's Borja Millan closed up to the leading pair, contributing to exciting last laps. Ladines tried one last attack on Jacobs, but to no avail. Shortly after the battle, the race was cut short by yet another server issue. In the end, Ladines was classified as having finished in P2, STAX Racing's best result so far in its short history. He also achieved STAX Racing's first ever fastest lap of the race.

STAX Racing finished their first season as third in the Constructor's Championship, well beyond any expectations harboured by the team when the wheels first turned way back in Fuji. Despite not starting in the first two races, Carlos Andres Ladines ended the season in fourth place. In five races, he was able to finish on the podium four times (three times in P3, once in P2). Diego Carranza started five races as well, finishing four of those in the points. In the end, he wrapped up the season in tenth place. Geoffrey Fournier, the team's substitute driver, was called to action three times. It should be noted that every time his services were required, he finished in a points scoring position. In the final driver's championship table he was a creditable fourteenth. Andrew Waring started one race for the team, but computer problems forced him to retire in that race. One DNF in his only start means that he was classified forty-ninth out of fifty starters in the end results table.



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