The Algarve 1000kms, round 3 of the 2010 Le Mans Series, should have seen OAK Racing Team Mazda France's first win. Unfortunately, the Portuguese circuit, renowned for being extremely hard on cars, lived up to its reputation and the bumpy...
The Algarve 1000kms, round 3 of the 2010 Le Mans Series, should have seen OAK Racing Team Mazda France's first win.
Unfortunately, the Portuguese circuit, renowned for being extremely hard on cars, lived up to its reputation and the bumpy surface badly affected the reliability of the Magny-Cours-based team's cars. The #35 machine, driven by Guillaume Moreau and Richard Hein, was running second in LMP2 when it was forced to retire after 91 laps with a differential failure. The #24 car, which led the class after 144 laps, suffered the same problem. This time, the team were able to make repairs that allowed Matthieu Lahaye and Jacques Nicolet to rejoin and finish fourth.
Francois Sicard, Team Manager: "This is the first time in three years that we have had a mechanical problem on both cars during a race. Apart from Strakka, the LMP2 entry list has become closer in terms of performance, but we could have got both cars on the podium and even win this race. Unfortunately, we had a differential problem on both Pescarolo-Judds. It was not possible to repair the #35, but we were able to find a solution for the #24 which got it to the end of the race. OAK Racing is well known for its reliability, but this circuit is extremely bumpy and pushed the limits of some parts. We will do everything we can to ensure this doesn't happen again in the future. We missed out on a victory, but there are two races left for us to reach the top step of the podium."
Guillaume Moreau: "We proved during this third round that we have continued to progress. I made a fantastic start and then Richard drove very well, keeping up a good pace during his stints. Unfortunately, the bumps decided the race for us and for the first time this year we didn't make the finish. With only five races during the season, this makes things more difficult for us in the championship. Nevertheless, mathematically anything is still possible and we will do our best to score big points at Hungary and Silverstone."
Richard Hein: "All weekend long we had a car that performed very well and which was capable of winning. Right at the start, Guillaume put us in the top three and, with the #24 car, we were going for the double. Unfortunately, luck was not on our side and we encountered mechanical problems which we've never had before. Nevertheless we did a good race at a circuit I love."
Jacques Nicolet: "Everything was going well and we were leading the race comfortably on an excellent strategy when we had a problem with the differential. We finished fourth again, but this time I can't complain as this gives us important points for the championship. We need to continue to work harder in order to make sure we don't have this kind of problem in the future. It seems that Portimao is the perfect circuit to test the reliability of cars before a race like Sebring!"
Matthieu Lahaye: "A big thank you to the entire team, who allowed us to get back on track to finish fourth. We were right up there at the front all weekend and leading the LMP2 class with two and a half hours of racing left. Unfortunately, this track has proven again that it is very demanding and that we need to continue to work and make progress, even regarding reliability.
The next round of the Le Mans Series will take place at the Hungaroring on Sunday 22 August.