Natacha Gachnang and Franck Mailleux offer Morand Racing their first podium in highly competitive European Le Mans Series championship.
After qualifying on the third row of the starting grid at the end of two free practice sessions disturbed by rain, the Morgan Onroak powered by Judd has been able to show its real potential.
Following the strategy decided by the team, the French driver has been able to keep contact with the leaders while keeping his LM P2 prototype in good shape for the end of the race.
At the end of his hour and a half stint, Franck Mailleux was third. Natacha Gachnang had to face a few drops of rain when she was back on track after the pit stop and a trouble free stint allowed her to cross the finish line in third position.
Joe Genoud - Team owner: “Being on the podium here in Imola is something huge, an amazing feeling! This championship is just as competitive as our satisfaction to be on the podium is huge! Our mechanics worked up to 2 in the morning due to a problem with brakes and this podium is an amazing achievement for them. Today is a great day for Morand Racing.”
Benoit Morand – Team Manager: “Before Le Mans which is just ahead of us, we had to do a trouble free race but we also had to show our colors and materialize all the amazing job done by our partners: Onroak, Judd and Dunlop. Franck made a wonderful job behind the wheel by keeping the right rhythm on track and staying close to the leaders from the head of the race.
After the pit stop, Natacha made a trouble free stint and Morand Racing is on the podium after two races only. Tonight is a huge satisfaction for all us involved : our partners, our sponsors but also our engineers and mechanics who are working so hard in the shadow.”
Franck Mailleux: “Free practice sessions haven’t been easy for us and we had to qualify with a car that was difficult to drive. We could have expected a better result in qualification. What really mattered was not to take risks during the first part of the race, to be patient while keeping contact with the leaders. Giving Natacha a car in good pace was an absolute priority. This result is more than important for the championship.
Natacha Gachnang: “I have had very good feelings with the car here in Imola since Friday. As our main goal was to cross the finish line I have been very prudent but driving on the track today was just awesome and the result is truly fantastic. Our Morgan Judd was perfect from the beginning to the end of the race and it was really thrilling to race in those conditions.”