Paul Ricard: Series preview

The rebirth On Sunday, we will probably see the first clear patterns of the Endurance season start to emerge, perhaps find out how close the cars are likely to get. This is always the time of year when anything is possible for all the teams, and...

The rebirth

On Sunday, we will probably see the first clear patterns of the Endurance season start to emerge, perhaps find out how close the cars are likely to get. This is always the time of year when anything is possible for all the teams, and this is where the real stuff really starts.

The 2010 novelty is not confined to what happens on the track. In two cases, it is the tracks themselves that are new, with Budapest and Le Castellet. For the legendary track, this is a rebirth as it has been a testing track for many years. Nonetheless, French driver Stephane Sarrazin, Peugeot factory driver knows very well the track as the French manufacturer has successfully completed many 24-hour simulations these last past years.

A LAP OF THE PAUL RICARD CIRCUIT WITH STEPHANE SARRAZIN -- TEAM ORECA-MATMUT

"At the end of the start-finish line, you break for the first tightened chicane "La Verrerie", taken in second gear. This is a difficult corner, because there is a little bump and you have to find out the right time to accelerate. A quick squirt of power before you jump on the brakes for the right-handed "Hotel" corner. The "Camp" right-hander hairpin, taken in first gear, is upon you very quickly. You must stay on the left side to accelerate very early before the "Sainte Beaume" right-hander, which is the most difficult corner of the track. You can lose a lot of time if your car is not well-balanced. Then you are flat out in the left-hand corner at the beginning of the "Mistral" straight, where you reach the top speed. You slightly break for the very famous "Signes" right-handed corner, taken in fifth gear. The entrance of this corner is blind and you cannot take it flatout otherwise you cannot accelerate properly. Hard on the brakes and you are in the double-apex right-hander "Le Beausset", taken in third gear. There is a little banking and a lot of grip so you can keep a good pace. You have to take the next tightened left-handed corner very carefully. Another short burst of power before the next left-hander where the car moves a lot. The final right-handed "Pont" hairpin is taken in first gear. It is very easy to make a mistake and to lose three tenths of a second before you are back on the start-finish line."

A HECTIC WEEKEND

With Audi back in the Series with the R15 Plus, the dual with Peugeot can start again. Even if the French car is operated by the privateer Team ORECA-Matmut, Sunday's race will star Stephane Sarrazin, whose experience with the 908 HDi FAP should be very helpful because its rivals are in ambush. The defending Lola-Aston Martin should fight fiercely to honor its title and the Mansell family would like to celebrate a victory for their first race together.

The LMP2 and GT2 classes are more competitive than ever. In the LMP2 one, Strakka Racing's drivers, who posted the best time in the class during the official Test Days, will try to take the trophy from deprive Portuguese defender Team Quifel- ASM whereas the Formula Le Mans prototypes will have at heart to demonstrate that they deserve their place in the field. In the GT2 one, the battle between Porsche and Ferrari can keep on going, but BMW is ready to push oneself forward.

There will be something to suit all tastes on the track on the next weekend! The Classic Endurance Racing is back and demonstrated in the past that the stars of yesterday are not only alive and kicking, but also very popular. The stars of tomorrow will compete in Formula Ford and F3 Euro Series, two of the major single-seaters championship for the youngsters.

-source: lemans series

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Stéphane Sarrazin
Teams Strakka Racing