Paul Ricard: HEXIS AMR preview

In their garden, HEXIS AMR could eat like a horse! The unique French team entered in the FIA GT1 World Championship will play their race at home this weekend. Of course, it is a privileged and highly expected moment in the young team's life. We...

In their garden, HEXIS AMR could eat like a horse!

The unique French team entered in the FIA GT1 World Championship will play their race at home this weekend. Of course, it is a privileged and highly expected moment in the young team's life. We must acknowledge that the reigning FIA GT3 European champions have bluffed more than one since their debut at the top of the pyramid, and now stand at the third place of the provisional world standings!

GT1 World: eating whets the appetite

The two Aston Martin DB9s entered by HEXIS AMR lined up a series of convincing results during the "GT1 World" last two meetings. At Silverstone, they succeeded a one-two in the qualifying race, and Mako's/Accary's #9 won an amazing 2nd place in the championship race. At Brno, it was the "youngsters"' Jonathan Hirschi and Clivio Piccione turn to end a solid performance at the 4th place, at the wheel of car #10. Neither the Swiss nor the Monegasque seems to be satisfied and they will have to be watched at the Paul Ricard circuit. For this fourth leg on this magnificent circuit, not far from their workshops, HEXIS AMR can again count on the former Formula 1 driver and Le Mans 24 Hours triple poleman Stephane Sarrazin to back Fred Mako up.

"We're trying to work as well as possible to prepare this crucial race for our team. We are determined to be strong at home" confided Philippe Dumas, one week from the meeting. "There will be a lot of people to support our team and cars. We know we have a real pressure on our shoulders in world championship, added to the one we already felt in European championship. It won't be easy, but we take our responsibility! Our team is ready, our drivers are ready, and we have such a will, such cohesion that, in the end, nothing scares me."

Special weekend rhymes with special organisation:
"It is our most important event operation of the season" declares Clement Mateu. "We will host 300 people, of whom about a hundred are HEXIS group's employees, who will gladly come and support the team. An activity related to the energy drink Kalaschnikow will be set up to celebrate the first anniversary of our subsidiary, HEXIS Energy. We'll have a bar, a show car, a DJ, and grid girls who'll make a "car washing"...Posters will be distributed to the audience. Concerning the media, Bloomberg TV (GT1 World's partner TV channel) and France 3 Montpellier will dedicate a special focus to the team. At last, regarding business, we will offer samples of HEXIS' adhesive products and a CD explaining the process of total covering to all teams. We expect a nice party for everyone, and hope positive results for the team on their own field!"

FIA GT3 European Championship: Ricard to forget Jarama!

Waiter, a double! HEXIS AMR will again tackle both programmes head-on at the Paul Ricard, as the FIA GT3 European Championship will also be on the menu of this Grand Touring feast! The team rely on this French leg to forget the previous one, played at Jarama. Beyond disappointment, Philippe Dumas wanted to reveal his analysis of the two DBRS9s' course during this Madrilenian weekend - a bit hard to stomach - and share reflections on the championship.

About Jarama:
"I knew we would suffer, but maybe not that much! This track is totally unsuited to our type of car and I think it is not normal to organise a GT3 European leg on such a circuit. If we want things to move on in favour of motorsports, catch sponsors' attention and, in the end, live better from our job, thus we mustn't go over there. Yes, we took a good slap in the face regarding results, but I'd rather take it in these conditions and during a totally anonymous meeting where we joined forces with a category I didn't know, and to which crowds did not flock. This "Superleague" remains a big mystery for me..."

The HEXIS AMR team in Spain:
"Without being pretentious, we were good. We broke an engine, we then had to change it during the night from Saturday to Sunday, and fix the consequences of a crash between races 1 and 2. Our team take again another dimension, by their composure and seriousness even in difficult situations. This kind of statement has me smile (Ed: it is rare enough to be written!)".

The HEXIS AMR drivers on the other side of the Pyrenees:
"Our drivers did the job, Thomas Accary and Fred Mako were perfect, and even too much I guess. Be it in qualifying or during their stints, they were beyond everything, beyond cars, brakes and tyres. Maybe I'll have to give them instructions to calm their passion down because I wonder to what extent it can become dangerous. For Luc Paillard and Manu Rodrigues the weekend turned out to be especially hard and testing, physically and morally. Luc does not know the car enough, he discovered the circuit too, so it is not easy but I'm sure he will go on podiums with Thomas before the end of the season, like Manu did with Fred at Silverstone. As for Manu, it is as hard, even though he well knows the car, the team and his mate. He goes through a phase of doubts after Le Mans 24 Hours, but he will be punctual for the Paul Ricard meeting, where a minor mistake cost us victory last season (Ed: in 2009, HEXIS AMR signed a pole position with Fred Mako and won one of the two races, alas shortened further to a collective crash in which... Thomas Accary's and Manu Rodrigues' winning car got destroyed).

To be or not to be BoP:
"The shame is that the BoPs (Balance of Performance), supposed to balance the field, are realised on the basis of the best times made by the best drivers of each car in qualifying and during races. Thus, the FIA will think once again that everything is doing fine for this Aston Martin DBR9 in GT3. In the end, in this scheme, it's not useful to have the best drivers in one's cars and it can even penalize you. To be pondered upon... Certainly, we will be better on real circuits but we are starting to suffer compared with all these new generation cars that become as easy to drive as the one I use to go to work every morning. I only wish the FIA takes into account the difficulties felt by gentlemen drivers in this car. Taking ballast off would be helpful. The Michelin tyres are the best but they cannot do miracles either! As a reminder: we are European champions, not thanks to the best car but only because we work well and together. In this championship, I'd like to face cars similar to ours, to show all our work and the distance covered with the Aston Martin since 2007. Here is my feeling concerning this last event, which just makes me want to look ahead, work, find solutions and win because it is the only thing people remember after all."

Update:
The HEXIS AMR team informs you that the Aston Martin #9 crew entered in the fourth round of the FIA GT1 World Championship at the Paul Ricard Circuit had to be changed. Indeed, Peugeot Sport had to organise a test session on Friday July 2nd and thus needs Stephane Sarrazin. The Thomas Accary / Frederic Makowiecki crew, that had taken the 2nd place at Silverstone, will be formed again for this French round of the World Championship.

-source: hexis amr

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Stéphane Sarrazin , Clivio Piccione , Thomas Accary , Luc Paillard , Jonathan Hirschi , Philippe Dumas