Portimao: Oak Racing preview

OAK Racing Team Mazda France targets double-podium in Portimao OAK Racing resumes its Le Mans Series campaign in Portugal next weekend as the French squad returns to action at round 3 of the 2010 season, the Algarve 1000kms. Fresh from a third...

OAK Racing Team Mazda France targets double-podium in Portimao

OAK Racing resumes its Le Mans Series campaign in Portugal next weekend as the French squad returns to action at round 3 of the 2010 season, the Algarve 1000kms.

Fresh from a third consecutive podium finish at the Le Mans 24 Hours, the team is looking for more of the same at the 4.692km Autodromo Internacional do Algarve near Portimao, but would like to get both of its Pescarolo-Judd LMP2 prototypes onto the class podium, and, with just four LMP1 cars on the grid, also push for a strong finish overall.

The event is unique in that it will start on Saturday at 5pm local time and run until 11pm at night, giving it a traditional 'endurance racing' feel. That could also prove important in terms of set-up, with temperatures set to vary during the event on what is a notoriously challenging circuit for drivers and machinery.

The team will again field two cars; #24 shared by Matthieu Lahaye and Jacques Nicolet and #35 shared by Guillaume Moreau and Richard Hein.

Francois Sicard, Team Manager: "After our superb result at Le Mans, the whole team is even more motivated to do well for the rest of the season. Portimao is a great circuit and good fun for the drivers, but it is very bumpy and that can be a real challenge. We've made a lot of adjustments and done some fine tuning to the cars since Le Mans and we have a shakedown at Magny-Cours this week to prepare for the race."

Jacques Nicolet, Team Owner and Driver: "After an exceptional Le Mans 24 Hours we now come back to reality. We have a lot of work to do and we face the challenge of improving our position in the Le Mans Series and to push for more podiums. Portimao is a very physical circuit and the cars jump around a lot on the bumps, which creates set-up issues. Personally I've had enough of finishing just outside the podium places! I was fourth at Paul Ricard, Spa and Le Mans, so Matthieu and I have decided we won't finish fourth again!"

Matthieu Lahaye: "I'm excited to get to Portimao and do some racing because it's a circuit I really like. Last year I drove well there and the car was good too, so I think we have a chance. I also enjoy driving at night, so that aspect will make the race even more interesting. Reliability will be very important, as the circuit is quite tough on the car, and with only four LMP1s I think we can aim for the overall podium."

Richard Hein: "We're approaching the second half of the season and now is the time that OAK Racing will come of age and really go for it. Portimao is one of my favourite circuits. It's complex, twisty and challenging, which I really like! We're in good shape on the technical side and the team has been working hard, so I think this track can be good for us."

Guillaume Moreau: "We're second overall in the points, but I can't deny that I really would like to win a race now We have to be reliable, because the cars are really going to suffer in the heat, but hopefully we can go for the win and take the lead of the championship."

The Algarve 1000kms starts at 5pm local time on Saturday 17 July.

-source: oak racing

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Matthieu Lahaye , Guillaume Moreau , Jacques Nicolet , Richard Hein
Teams OAK Racing