Morand Racing: A well deserved podium in Austria

At the end of 3 hours long race and after a faultless stint, Natacha Gachnang was in third position on going under the checkered flag.

It is with the utmost satisfaction provided by a well-done job that Morand Racing is leaving the third round of the European Le Mans Series that took place this weekend in Austria. The team finished third overall of the 3 hours long race as Natacha Gachnang and Franck Mailleux had a faultless weekend from the free practice session to the checkered flag.

LM P2 podium: winners Mathias Beche, Pierre Thiriet, second place Pierre Ragues, Nelson Panciatici, third place Natacha Gachnang, Franck Mailleux
LM P2 podium: winners Mathias Beche, Pierre Thiriet, second place Pierre Ragues, Nelson Panciatici, third place Natacha Gachnang, Franck Mailleux

Photo by: DPPI

French driver Franck Mailleux obtained a fifth time during the qualification session and eventually started on the second row of the grid after one of the competitors’ times got cancelled. 1’24’’318 was the best qualification Mailleux had ever performed for the Swiss team.

On Saturday afternoon, he then had to face a huge traffic during his stint and the Austrian racetrack that is mainly composed of straight lines and tricky corners didn’t help. When overtaking GT cars Mailleux managed to be aggressive without taking unnecessary risks behind the wheel of the Morgan Judd LMP2 and kept in touch with the front of the race.

Swiss driver Natacha Gachnang left the pit lane in second position at half race. At the end of 3 hours long race and after a faultless stint, the Swiss driver was in third position on going under the checkered flag and offers Morand Racing their second podium in a row in European Le Mans Series.

Team Manager Benoit Morand: “Even if our overall performance is the same as in Imola a few weeks ago, it is much better on analysis. On Friday we had to find the right rhythm during the free practice sessions and learn how to manage the car on this specific track. Franck obtained the best qualification of the season, which is quite logical due to our experience and technical package and we could have been on the front row.

Natacha’s stint was stunning and especially so in heavy traffic as she learned to cope with it in Le Mans, which is very positive a few weeks before going to Hungary where the traffic will play a major part in the race. As to Franck, he managed to keep in touch with highly competitive leaders during his stint so that this first weekend for the World Series by Renault is very positive for us.

Let’s add that the crowd of spectators was really huge and that the ELMS staff has worked a lot to offer us great working conditions. Once again, I would like to thank Onroak, Dunlop and Judd for their support, reliability and the high quality of the package available.”

Natacha Gachnang: “The car was very competitive despite some minor under-steering and Franck has done a great job during his hour and a half stint by staying in front of other LMP2 competitors. We have shown we could adapt ourselves to this very attractive track and to the second sector and final corners in particular. It is my view that we deserve this podium even more so than in Imola. This round of the European Le Mans has been a huge success and it was great to open the paddock to the public.”

Franck Mailleux: “I came to Zeltweg without the least experience on this track and I discovered a great venue especially as regards the second half of the 4 kilometers long track. Getting the right set-up for the car was a bit tricky but our main goal was to be on the podium and we were! We had the opportunity to overtake some competitors in the last corners and the 2 great stints performed by Natacha made the difference. We don’t have much time on track so that starting this race as she did was already very hard. And she knew how to make a faultless race.”

Morand Racing

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About this article
Series ELMS
Article type Race report
Tags elms, gachnang, mailleux, morand racing, red bull ring