Petit Le Mans
A satisfying 2nd place for Team ORECA-Matmut !
After an error free race, Nicolas Lapierre, Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gené reach the second step of the podium at Road Atlanta ! As winners of the 12 Hours of Sebring in March, Team ORECA-Matmut was making its return to the United States for the Petit Le Mans. Alongside two Peugeot 908 and in front of two Audi R18, the objective of reaching the podium put forth by Hugues de Chaunac was a challenging one. In front of a crowd that always gives them a warm welcome, the team wanted to shine on the Road Atlanta track.
Behind the wheel of the No. 10 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP carrying the message « Thank You Fans », Nicolas Lapierre, Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gené brilliantly accomplished their mission in taking second place behind the Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908. In front of more than 130,000 spectators, Team ORECA-Matmut once again showed all of its strength, leading on several occasions ahead of Audi and Peugeot. The team had a remarkable performance, on the track, in the pits and in terms of strategy. The team definitely likes U.S. Racing !
Race action. With the fifth qualifying time, Nicolas Lapierre keeps the position until the first safety car period introduced after the first quarter hour. Quick in the pits, Team ORECAMatmut slips ahead of an Audi R18 and a Peugeot 908. The team continues to make its way up the leaderboard and takes the lead after the second yellow flag. The No. 10 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP maintains third place, often leading in the first four hours. Marc Gené takes over the controls for a double stint, followed by Nicolas Minassian, who reaches the halfway mark in third place.
As the laps unfold, the trio establishes a comfortable place in third, behind the No. 8 Peugeot and the No. 1 Audi. Nicolas Lapierre retakes the wheel in the sixth hour, just before the sixth full course caution. As the French driver is finishing its double stint, the No. 1 Audi is involved in an incident. Team ORECA-Matmut inherits second place but the car has been hit by a GT. The mechanics change the rear cover and diffuser…in less than two minutes ! This allows the team to conserve second place. Marc Gené attacks to widen the gap to the closest competitors, and to put a lap on the No. 007 Lola-Aston Martin. He does it in the ninth hour. Nicolas Minassian takes over for the last laps, perfectly managing the end of the race which sees Team ORECA-Matmut finishing in 2nd
Hugues de Chaunac, President of Groupe ORECA : « To start our season with a win at Sebring and finish it with a second place at Petit Le Mans is a great result ! The early part of the race for Team ORECA-Matmut was pretty exceptional. With 53 cars, two of which were Peugeots and two Audis, we overcame a heck of challenge today. The members of the team were perfect, as were the drivers. We love to race in the USA and the USA loves to have us here. We will keep this in mind for 2012. We’re also happy to be part of a 1-2 for Peugeot. »
Nicolas Lapierre, Team ORECA-Matmut/No. 10 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, 2nd : « We’ve once again had a good result. More than the result itself, it’s how we obtained it that I’ll remember. That’s what makes me the happiest. The team managed the race well, including when we had to change the rear cover and diffuser. The change was made quickly and calmly. To be second in a race that is so prestigious after the win at Sebring, it’s a good way to conclude the season. »
Nicolas Minassian, Team ORECA-Matmut/No. 10 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, 2nd : « We were able to do what we wanted to do : a flawless race to reach the podium. The team is still at a top level, whether it be in the pits, strategy or in their approach. I was very happy to rejoin Marc, and Team ORECA-Matmut, and also to work with Nicolas, who is a great guy. I had a great week and it’s a great way to finish it. We got the best out of our package. »
Marc Gené, Team ORECA-Matmut/ No. 10 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, 2nd : « Honestly, I didn’t think second place was possible. I started to believe in the podium during the race. We had a good car, good setup, and the team was very fast during pit stops. And they made the right choices when it came to strategy. I’m very happy to have this result. I had only heard good things of the team, and I can confirm them all. »
David Floury, Technical Director ORECA : « We like even more the American style of racing. The team had an excellent race. We took risks in terms of strategy : we had to. In the opening few hours, we found ourselves leading often. It was perhaps a little unexpected, but especially magic to be doing so well with a 2010 car. Afterward, the yellow flags were less frequent but the team was solid, especially in the pits. The drivers were perfect. I’m proud of the whole team and happy for Nico’ (Lapierre), Nicolas (Minassian) and Marc (Gené). We had a great week with them. »