Silverstone: Team-ORECA-Matmut-AIM race report

Victory for the ORECA 01 driven by Panis & Lapierre Olivier Panis and Nicolas Lapierre and the Team-ORECA-Matmut-AIM won the final round of the 2009 Le Mans Series with the ORECA 01! The Team ORECA-Matmut-AIM has scored that elusive victory!...

Victory for the ORECA 01 driven by Panis & Lapierre

Olivier Panis and Nicolas Lapierre and the Team-ORECA-Matmut-AIM won the final round of the 2009 Le Mans Series with the ORECA 01!

The Team ORECA-Matmut-AIM has scored that elusive victory! For the first time, the ORECA 01 took the chequered flag in first place only 5 months after its initial shakedown. Olivier Panis and Nicolas Lapierre were on the pace straight away, and put on a superb show to overcome strong opposition led by Aston Martin. After setting pole, and thanks to a flexible strategy decided by the technical team, the 2 drivers scored their maiden win in the Le Mans Series after a suspense-filled race. It is ORECA's first victory as a constructor, and is great preparation for the Petit Le Mans - and the future !

THE RACE :

No.10 ORECA 01. Nicolas who set pole had to give way to the very powerful 007 Aston Martin at the start. He closed the gap in the following laps without being able to find a way past. He was fifth at the end of his first stint, and he rejoined in second place thanks to an excellent pit stop. He held on to this position during his second stint before handing over to Panis. The Frenchman had no problem matching the pace of the leader, the Pescarolo, before it ran into mechanical problems. This gave Panis first place and he was able to control the gap to the 2 Aston Martins that were in hot pursuit. He sliced his way through traffic while nursing his tyres to double stint.

Nicolas got back in the car in the fourth hour and was still in the lead, so the team decided to opt for single stints for the tyres to up the pace. The 007 Aston Martin and the no.13 Speedy-Sebah Lola were also in contention for victory but with different strategies. The battle continued right up to the final refuelling stops. After the stewards asked for the bonnet to be replaced on the ORECA 01 Panis went out to reel off the closing laps. His first rival came in for a splash and dash, while the second had to change the protective louvre. This left the door wide open for the ORECA 01 to head on to the chequered flag and victory! QUOTES :

Hugues de Chaunac, the ORECA Group President: "It's a huge relief and also a great reward for all the work that's gone into the design and launch of the ORECA 01. We showed its reliability during the Le Mans 24 Hours and its competitiveness with two poles. But it wasn't enough; we had to score a victory and now we've done it! It's a great joy and the best possible way to finish the Le Mans Series, and above all the best preparation for the future. Once again, the drivers were impeccable: we've got a great pair, and I'd like to take my hat off to them for their performances since the start of the year. This victory has a particular flavor as we're at Silverstone where we won our last prototype event with the Audi. It's a circuit on which we always do well."

Olivier Panis (ORECA 01 no10), vainqueur : "The race was quite difficult. Everybody went flat out and it was very close. It's great winning here, especially as it's Aston Martin's home territory. I'm delighted for the whole team, which has worked so very hard since the start of the season. Nicolas and I were really determined to score this victory; we've just missed out on so many occasions. We never gave up and it paid off!"

Nicolas Lapierre (No.10 ORECA 01) winner: "First victory with the ORECA 01, first one with Olivier and the first for me in endurance, it's fantastic! It wasn't all plain sailing to win here. At the start I couldn't do anything about the Aston Martins' top speed and then I got stuck in traffic. But the team changed our strategy at the right moment so we could take advantage of a clear track. These choices paid off and we're on the topmost step of the podium, something that's often escaped us."

David Floury, Technical Director: "This victory consolidates and rewards all the hard work over the past few months. We've been waiting for it for some time now! We mixed strategies during the race: a cautious start, then pushing at the right moment and control in the closing minutes. Strategy was one of the key factors and we handled it well. The reliability over the whole weekend is another positive point. It's a great source of satisfaction but not an end in itself."

-credit: oreca

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