ORECA press release
Thiriet by TDS Racing puts ORECA on pole!
Mathias Beche signed the pole position time in the first round of the European Le Mans Series at the controls of the ORECA 03 entered by Thiriet by TDS Racing. Already pole winners in 2011, Mathias Beche and Thiriet by TDS Racing were once again fastest in qualifying for the 6 Hours of the Castellet. The other ORECA 03 follow : Pecom Racing, Murphy Prototypes, Sébastien Loeb Racing and Race Performance claimed the 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th places.
At the top of the time sheets with Murphy Prototypes in the first practice session, and in the hunt during the second session, with three cars in the top six, the ORECA chassis confirmed their good form on the Paul Ricard circuit. Qualifying for the 6 Hours of the Castellet were no less disputed. Stéphane Sarrazin and Sébastien Loeb Racing were the first in action with their No. 19 ORECA 03. The French driver swapped the pole back and forth with the No. 24 Morgan, before other competitors made their way on to the track, such as the No. 17 Lola and the No. 1 Zytek. In the end, it was Thiriet by TDS Racing who obtained the first place time thanks to a great performance from Mathias Bèche, already on pole here 12 months ago!
"This pole position, and this first championship point, is a nice reward for the team" explains Mathias Beche. "Already last year, the competition was tough. This season, the level is even higher with big names. Along with the team, we showed that we’re able to run up front and that makes me proud. The track’s grip is different from the Official Tests in early March : we brought a few changes and we were able to find a good balance in the ORECA 03. We can count of a good car. The race will be long and our first mission is to make it to the finish without issues. At least eight prototypes could potentially win. It’s open and our desire is to be at the front in the end.."
With four constructors in the top four spots, diversity is the word of the day. The other ORECA 03 also ran well. After their third place in the World Endurance Championship at Sebring, Pecom Racing signed the fifth fastest time, with the trio of Perez Companc/Bruni/Kaffer. Murphy Prototypes, for their first appearance in competition, will also be on the third row, with Firth/Hughes/Moro. For their big debut in endurance, Sébastien Loeb Racing are classified 7th, with Minassian/Sarrazin/Marroc. Race Performance will start on the ninth position with Frey/Meichtry/Hirschi. After a technical problem, Boutsen Ginion Racing did not take part in the qualifying session, but will be present on the starting grid with drivers Clarke/Brière/Buemi.
With six teams and competitive driving squads that mix youth with experience, the ORECA chassis will attempt to shine at home during the 6 Hours of the Castellet.