Olivier Pla secures pole for OAK Racing at Road Atlanta while Morgan chassis built by Onroak Automotive take front-row lockout
Olivier Pla, who along with team-mates Bertrand Baguette and Jacques Nicolet has proven fast throughout testing and practice at the Road Atlanta circuit, claimed an outstanding pole position in the LM P2 class at Petit Le Mans today (19 October). Driving the team’s #35 Morgan-Nissan 2012 LM P2, the Frenchman emerged victorious from a tough fight with Conquest Endurance’s sister car which joins OAK Racing on the front row.
Pla knows the circuit well having already contested Petit Le Mans twice since 2008, but his team-mate Baguette was making his maiden appearance on the track built on the famed red clay. The Belgian enjoyed a successful start to the event, recording the best LM P2 lap time during first practice.
Targeting the European Le Mans Series title, OAK Racing will be aiming to clinch victory at this weekend's race, the final round of both the ELMS and the American Le Mans Series in which Conquest Endurance competes. Currently ranking second in the LM P2 standings, the top category of the European series, Le Mans-based OAK Racing has high expectations for the double-points-scoring final round of the season.
Thanks to Pla’s efforts, the team will start ahead of their rivals on a circuit where traffic management is key to success and thus gives himself, Baguette and Nicolet – who took an LM P2 podium at the race in 2010 – the best chance to climb the top step of the rostrum as they did in the previous round at Donington Park.
Sébastien Philippe, Team Principal: “OAK Racing and Olivier Pla seem to have an affinity for American circuits as this is our second race in the United States this year and our second pole. We are satisfied today not only with P1 but also the front-row lockout secured by the sister car of Conquest Racing, our partner and official North American importer. We showed that our Morgan 2012 LM P2 is competitive, but this is only qualifying and tomorrow there is a 10-hour race. Qualifying is not that important in the grand scheme of things, but we’re happy to have shown the quality of the team and car.”
Olivier Pla, #35 Morgan-Nissan 2012 LM P2: “It is great to arrive here at Road Atlanta straight from Fuji and be competitive right away. I had a well-balanced car for qualifying. The session was strange because the more we ran the quicker the times were. I had a clear lap at the end and pole is the icing on the cake, but we must stay focused for the race tomorrow and be prepared to face all kinds of challenges.”
Source: Oak Racing