Hungaroring: Team ORECA-Matmut preview

The Team ORECA-Matmut is gunning for a second victory ! Olivier Panis, Nicolas Lapierre and Stephane Sarrazin are out to score their second win on the trot... The three drivers will try to bag the maximum number of points in Budapest. On...

The Team ORECA-Matmut is gunning for a second victory !

Olivier Panis, Nicolas Lapierre and Stephane Sarrazin are out to score their second win on the trot...

The three drivers will try to bag the maximum number of points in Budapest.

On 22nd August, the Le Mans Series will go to Hungary for the first time for the Hungaroring 1000 kms. The Team ORECA-Matmut has two objectives in the fourth (and second-last) round of the championship, part of which will be run at night score a second outright victory after Portimao, and also bag the maximum number of points in the Drivers', Teams' and Manufacturers' Championships. No changes in the driver line-up since the last round as the no.4 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP will again be driven by Olivier Panis, Nicolas Lapierre and Peugeot Sport works driver Stephane Sarrazin.

In Portugal in July the team's aims were to win and to learn. These two words will again be the main guidelines for the Hungarian event in keeping with the team's avowed aim of continuity: "We've broken our duck and we obviously intend to score the same result as in the Algarve," points out David Floury, the team's technical director. "But as we said before Portimao, we also want to take advantage of the second part of the season to prepare for the future, beginning with Silverstone where we'll be up against Audi again, and on a more general basis for 2011. Each race gives us an opportunity to make progress in every area including the details."

The best preparation for 2011 would be a victory in Hungary as Floury confirms: "We're concentrated on this mission. We take the events as they come and we're fully determined to win each time. Budapest will certainly be a very tricky challenge, and on this type of circuit the petrol-engined car will be a threat. The traffic will be very heavy, and as the overall pace will be fairly high it'll be crucial not to make any mistakes. We have to put on a top-quality performance at all levels - drivers, team etc." The Team ORECA-Matmut will also be thinking of the championship classifications. "Stephane could be crowned champion after the Budapest race, and we could also consolidate Peugeot's position as leader in the manufacturers' ratings and take over first place in the teams' classification. To do that we have to win: that's our priority!"

To achieve this aim the team will have to make a successful foray to the Hungaroring circuit, on which ORECA has not raced for several years. Floury sums up: "We've never raced there in LM P1 and our last outing on the track goes back to the Viper era. It's a parameter we'll have to cope with but we can rely on our drivers' experience. We also watched the F1 race with a bit more attention than usual (laughs)!"

The event gets under way on Saturday 21st August with the opening practice sessions. To follow the team's activities between now and the Hungaroring 1000 kms, rendez-vous on ORECA-Racing.com, Twitter and Facebook.

Olivier Panis: "We're out to win again"

Olivier what can you tell us about the Hungaroring?

"The circuit has a number of slow corners and only one quick section. The main straight is relatively long. The track is usually pretty dirty but as the F1s raced there recently that should help us. It's a layout whose off- camber corners are fairly hard on tyres, and there's also a lot of understeer. That's typical of Budapest but I like the track as it's got rhythm. Traffic is going to be THE big problem!"

What memories do you have?

"Overall, pretty good ones. I've often been quick in qualifying. In fact, this circuit is fun during practice and qualifying. In general, I've had pretty good results there. I think my best performance was fifth in 1996, and I also finished sixth on two occasions with Ligier, one of which was in my first season in Formula 1."

The Team ORECA-Matmut has just come from winning in Portimao. How does it feel?

"It's a kind of deliverance! Everybody is delighted with it. After what happened at Le Mans, the team deserved it. It does a lot of good to be on the topmost step of the podium, all the more so as we had a fault-free weekend with a perfect race. We've already opened our score!"

So the aim in Budapest is obviously a second victory, isn't it?

"Yes, obviously. We know it won't be very easy on this layout but we want to put on a repeat performance. Personally speaking, I'm determined to shine and I want to help the Team ORECA- Matmut win the title. It would be a great way to reward all the work that the team's put in since the launch of the endurance programme in 2008."

-source: oreca

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Olivier Panis , Stéphane Sarrazin , Nicolas Lapierre