A look back at the centenary: Inter Europol competition fulfills a dream

Inter Europol, a relatively small Polish team, scored its most important victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans centenary. The #34 ORECA 07-Gibson driven by Jakub Śmiechowski, Fabio Scherer and Albert Costa turned the hotly contested LMP2 category on its ear.

Robert Kubica's stunning overtaking

The first pit stop of the 24-hour race could have spelled disaster for the team Sherer's left leg was crushed by the #33 Corvette C6.R, but the driver persevered. After starting from 13th in the LMP2 field, Szymichowski successfully navigated the wet sections of the circuit and took first position. He moved up to 7th after two hours of racing, with Scherer then passing the baton to Costa. Heavy rain continued, with many drivers making costly mistakes and prompting the intervention of the safety car. Better strategy allowed the Pole to climb up the dressage classification, and within three hours, Costa began to fight for the lead. After 60 minutes Szymichowski took P1 in the category for the first time.

In the second half of the race, Inter Europol pitted the #41 ORECA of Team WRT against the #30 ORECA of Duquin. Scherer and Robert Kubica battled mercilessly, with the Swiss driver pressed by Kubica on the outside while braking at the Michelin chicane to pull off one of the most impressive overtakes of the entire century. It is the speed, consistency and high skill of its drivers that enabled the Inter-Europol competition to achieve historic success.

[Winning has] Exceeded my wildest dreams.

Match between Jakub Smychowski, Europol

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For the first time in the history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Polish national anthem was played on stage. Jakub Smichowski: “It took my breath away and surpassed my wildest dreams. We went into Le Mans knowing we had good pace and wanted to avoid trouble. My teammates did an incredible job of staying fast no matter the conditions. The strategy and teamwork was fantastic.”

Photograph

The LMP2 winner, the #34 ORECA 07-Gibson of Inter Europol, took the checkered flag. In a highly competitive division, the Polish side looked uncharacteristically unconvincing at the start. The car shared by Jakub Śmichowski, Fabio Scherer and Albert Costa performed well throughout the 24 hours, with Scherer showing remarkable determination despite a serious injury to his left leg. The race between Europol turned out to be a flawless race to claim its historic victory in the LMP2 category.

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