Paul Ricard: Oreca Peugeot preview

First dress rehearsal for the Team ORECA-Matmut First step in the buildup to the Le Mans 24 Hours for the Team ORECA-Matmut Peugeot 908 HDI FAP Gain experience in the face of tough competition from the Audi R15 Plus Only one-and-a-half...

First dress rehearsal for the Team ORECA-Matmut

First step in the buildup to the Le Mans 24 Hours for the Team ORECA-Matmut Peugeot 908 HDI FAP

Gain experience in the face of tough competition from the Audi R15 Plus

Only one-and-a-half months after taking delivery of the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, the Team ORECA-Matmut is preparing for its first race with the new car, the Le Castellet 8 Hours on the Paul Ricard HTTT circuit, the opening round of the 2010 Le Mans Series It will provide Hugues de Chaunac's team with a wealth of information, all the more so as the Var-based squad will be up against tough opposition from the new Audi R15 Plus (among others).

Exceptionally, Olivier Panis and Nicolas Lapierre will be joined for this race by Stephane Sarrazin, one of the Peugeot works drivers. He will give the team the benefit of his experience of the 908 HDi FAP to help them prepare for the rest of the season in the best possible conditions. "The Le Castellet 8 Hours will be the first round in the match between the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP and the Audi R15 Plus," says David Floury. "However, there's no sense in getting our priorities wrong and putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves when there's no need. We have a new prototype to run that we received only recently, and we have to continue getting to know the car. We're going to work in a calm frame of mind with Stephane with the aim of achieving the best possible result, that's obvious. Audi has given its R15 a major update during the off-season as have the other teams in LM P1, so it's going to be an interesting first round."

In 2009, the Team ORECA-Matmut squad took advantage of the early races to be at their best in June. This year, the approach is the same. "We're here to prepare for Le Mans," confirms the technical director. "Our programme reaches its peak in June. The events on the Paul Ricard HTTT circuit and at Spa-Francorchamps will both be dress rehearsals for the Le Mans 24 Hours. Last year, we were at the top of our form and we put a great performance in the Sarthe. We have to do the same thing again. So there's no question of taking risks at the start of the race and damaging the car. Our primary aim is to reach the finish to collect the maximum amount of experience with the Peugeot in terms of how the team functions, the evolution of how the car behaves and finally, traffic management."

Since the official Le Mans Series official test the 908 HDi FAP has undergone a complete revision. In addition to pit stop simulations, the Team ORECA-Matmut members have begun a physical fitness training programme in view of the Le Mans 24 Hours, an excellent way of reinforcing the already strong team spirit.

-source: oreca

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