Hexis puts a spell on Europe!
HEXIS Racing AMR swept to its first major international title by winning the FIA GT3 European Championship by a comfortable margin over 2008 champions Ford GT Matech. In the drivers' standings, the crew of Aston Martin DBRS9 No.3 comprising Thomas Accary and Julien Rodrigues are the new vice-champions of Europe, while Frederic Makowiecki and Manu Rodrigues took a splendid 4th place.
With six podium places, three wins and four pole positions, 2009 marked the coming of age of a team which has been in constant progression since it made its debut in GT racing in 2005. After testing the water at the national level with a Porsche Cup, the team ramped up its ambitions in 2007 with the acquisition of three Aston Martin DBRS9 cars, which it raced on the FIA European GT3 championship circuit as well as in France and then in Germany. Almost from the word go in Europe the team started picking up pole positions and soon notched its maiden podium finish. The following season saw the team claim its first outright win and close out the season as European vice-champions in both the Team and Driver categories.
This season HEXIS Racing AMR threw itself into the quest for European glory in the GT3 class and tasted the joys of a GT2 podium place thanks to its partnership with Aston Martin Racing. The strategy paid off and the Champagne corks popped as the team took the Team trophy ahead of Audi, Ford GT, Corvette, Ferrari, Porsche, Morgan, Lamborghini, Dodge and BMW Alpina racers. In the midst of this superb overall performance was a tinge of regret as the guys from the Gard region of France were unable to improve upon last season's runners up spot in the driver tables. Yet going into the last meeting of the season Thomas Accary and Julien Rodrigues held a half- point lead.
FIA GT3 2009 champion team manager Philippe Dumas had this to say about the performance of his troops at Zolder: "we fought tooth and nail right up to the end but I have to admit that the decision to replace Dubaï with Zolder played against us. It was virgin territory for us and our car is not at its best on this type of circuit. The changeable weather didn't help us either. At times there was just one dry trajectory through the circuit and it put our drivers in difficulty. This meant that our car No. 3, which was the best placed to take the championship, was not able to give of its best during qualifying. Thomas was forced to take risks at the start of race 1 but messed it up at the first turn. He set off again behind the pack and he and Julien went on to climb impressively back up to 9th place. However, it was their nearest rivals who won the race. In race 2 they managed to go from 16th to 6th place and hold on to the European runners up spot. Mako's pole position with the other car shows that we were right up there performance-wise.
Aston Martin No. 4 carved spectacularly through the field in Race 1, moving up from 14th place to finish 5th. With Mako at the wheel and well in front, No. 4 looked favourite to win Race 2 until the safety car came out on the track just prior to the driver change window. The team opted for a risky double choice of pitstop and tyre type but with unfortunate consequences.
So for next season the team still has an elusive goal to aim for, not to mention the new challenges HEXIS Racing AMR will be setting for itself. Down in Ledenon the team is already hard at work on new developments. There will be no time for a winter break!
The final emotional word must go to Clement Mateu. "I remember how this all started and how we first got involved in GT racing with the Rodrigues family. Then our decision to embark upon a new adventure with our Aston Martins when we didn't have much experience but plenty of desire to excel. And now today ... wow! These days we have a strong team in which each person knows exactly what they have to do. We have some top class drivers who have kept the dream alive all season. It has been a tough season, especially at the start, but thanks to great support from our partners, our drivers' sponsors and all the HEXIS family, we never doubted it would come good. I think we have all thoroughly enjoyed this 2009 season despite the relentless pressure we have been under all the time. It makes winning the title all the more satisfying. Now it's time to look ahead to new things. Strike while the iron's hot! We will be pushing hard to do better still. We want to establish ourselves as a force to be reckoned with in GT racing in France, Europe and the whole world!"