Sebastian Gravlund

Gravlund finds pace in disastrous weekend of misfortune

Misfortunes rained down on Sebastian Gravlund and Inter Europol Competition in the weekend’s installment of the Michelin Le Mans Cup, held at Circuit Paul Ricard in Southern France.

Sebastian and teammate Tim Creswick had a good start to the second round of the championship during the initial practices, which took place in pouring rain. Despite not having been on the track before, Sebastian quickly found his pace and looked promising for the weekend’s races.

However, the duo was struck by the first wave of misfortune during the first official practice session. A minor driving error caused Tim Creswick to hit a curb incorrectly, resulting in a flight through the air and significant damage to the car:

“It was quite a crash, and the car was heavily damaged, so the mechanics had quite a task ahead of them to get the car ready again. We didn’t manage to get Tim’s bronze driver training, but we just barely made it out for the second free practice, where I did some installation laps to feel if the car was okay,” Sebastian explains, who was hit by misfortune for the second time:

“I hit a curb, which is actually quite flat but rises slightly, and I might have gone too far onto it, causing the underside of the car to hit. It made a nasty sound, but I’m used to that from the formula cars… unfortunately, the gearbox couldn’t handle it, so the mechanics had extra work,” laments a frustrated Sebastian, who was nonetheless pleased that the car functioned well otherwise.

Saturday morning began with qualifying, and despite the lack of practice in dry conditions, optimism was high within the Polish team. Tim Creswick pushed hard on the track – and then disaster struck for the third time: A competitor overlooked the otherwise very noticeable green-yellow LMP3 race car and collided directly into its side. The steering was misaligned, preventing a good lap time.

“We stood in the pits completely speechless. So much misfortune within a single day should almost not be possible,” says Sebastian Gravlund, who could only hope that the quota of misfortune had been exhausted when the race started on Saturday afternoon, with Gravlund and Creswick starting from the 28th position.

Tim Creswick had a good start and managed to advance to the 20th position before Sebastian Gravlund took over the car and embarked on an ambivalent stint towards the checkered flag:

“The car ran well, and Tim had done a good job, but it was perhaps the toughest task I’ve ever had in a race car. I hadn’t actually had any practice on the track in dry conditions, so I drove out of the pit lane in the middle of a race without knowing the braking points, the ideal racing line, or the condition of the tires,” recounts Sebastian, who struggled to find speed without taking too many risks. And speed came towards the end of the race:

“It was really tough. Normally, you take one turn or section at a time, so I approached it a bit like a practice session, but at the same time, I also had to take care of the tires and see if I could move forward. I think there were five laps to go when suddenly everything clicked, and I set good lap times,” laughs Sebastian, who was among the three fastest drivers in the field in the final phase of the race.

“Well, it doesn’t earn us any points or anything else, but it’s still nice to know that if we hadn’t been bombarded with misfortunes, we would have been able to achieve a good result. The team has worked incredibly hard, so I had hoped that we could have done better… but we’ll do that next time,” he promises.

And next time is something very special. It’s the Road to Le Mans weekend, where the Michelin Le Mans Cup races as a warm-up before this year’s edition of the legendary 24-hour race begins. It’s a huge experience that Sebastian Gravlund is looking forward to:

“It’s without a doubt the biggest race of the year, and I’m really excited to go down and be part of the whole show. Le Mans is massive, and just ticking it off the to-do list will be great – and then I hope we can achieve a good result down there to make the experience even better,” concludes Sebastian Gravlund.

This year’s Le Mans weekend takes place on June 14-16.