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29/06/2007 - 1000 kms Nurburgring

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NÜRBURGRING, Germany, July 3 - After qualifying ninth in the LMP2 class for the 1,000 Kilometers of the Nürburgring, Horag Racing battled up to fourth in a tough field assembled for the third Le Mans Series (LMS) race of the year here Sunday.

The Swiss team and its drivers, Belgium's Didier Theys of Scottsdale, Ariz.; Fredy Lienhard of Niederteufen, Switzerland, and Eric van de Poele of Sart-Risbart, Belgium, did not panic when Theys ended up ninth in class in qualifying on Saturday, 3.618 seconds off the time set by the class polesitter. They were concentrating on having a car that would go the distance, confident that would be their team's best strategy for such a challenging race on such a challenging course and against a tough, 50-car field that included 11 LMP2 entries.

They were right. By the end of the first hour Theys was already up to seventh in class and by the end of his double stint he was in fifth. In the meantime he ran an impressive lap of 1:50.578 for the 5.148-km circuit on lap 45 of th e 194-lap race. Although there was no catching the class pole winner and eventual class winner, the RML MG Lola AER of Thomas Erdos and Mike Newton, Theys kept the car that ended up second, the Barazi Epsilon Zytek of Juan Barazi, Michael Vergers and Karim Ojjeh, behind him before turning the Horag Racing Lola B05/40 Judd over to Lienhard.

Lienhard was able to retain fifth place throughout his stint, but the way the race progressed on Sunday the beautiful red and white Lista Office and Lista-sponsored No. 27 settled into a lap by itself, with fourth place one lap ahead of it and sixth place one lap behind it. That was still the situation when van de Poele got in to begin his stint.

Van de Poele went into "attack mode" anyway, and before long he edged ahead of the Embassy Racing Radical Judd of Warren Hughes and Neil Cunningham to take over fourth place. At one point he was running faster than the second- and third-place LMP2 cars, and he set the team's fastest race lap with a 1:50.313 during his charge.

With no full-course yellows as the race progressed, the car that ended up third, the Quifel Lola AER of Miguel Amaral, Migel de Castro and Angel Burgueno, had a lap on the Horag team that was too much to make up. Van de Poele took the checkered flag in fourth, with third place one lap ahead of him and fifth place one lap behind him. He was 11th overall.

The two factory Peugeots finished first and second overall.

Three races are now in the books and three remain. The next one is at Spa, Belgium Aug. 17-19.

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