Vanina on the road to Le Mans: the home race! Last round before the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Team Signature-Plus, the 1000km of Spa race was a special event for the Belgian driver alongside teammates Franck Mailleux and Pierre...
Vanina on the road to Le Mans: the home race!
Last round before the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Team Signature-Plus, the 1000km of Spa race was a special event for the Belgian driver alongside teammates Franck Mailleux and Pierre Ragues.
Following the 8 Hours of Le Castellet, Vanina Ickx was getting ready for the 24 Hours of Le Mans on the mythic Spa-Francorchamps circuit. She finished eighth in her home race in the LMP1 class, in which Peugeot and Audi factory teams compete. The race was a good learning experience behind the wheel of the # 008 Lola-Aston Martin. Before heading for Nurburgring, Vanina answers some questions...
Vanina, how did you feel before your home race??
"I would like to say as usual, but it is not true. I always tackle my home race with more ambition: I want to do better and show what I am able to do. This is also a busier weekend with many guests and fans, and I try to spend as much time as possible with them. The days are long, but I enjoy that. This is because of this kind of weekends that we do what we do. We realize that we can make people dream!"
You only had a few laps in the car during the practice sessions. How do you deal with it??
"Sportscars racing is a team sport. We are three drivers, so we must share the wheel during the practice sessions. The weather conditions didn't help us either. The most important thing is that the engineer, the drivers and the mechanics have done a very good job since the beginning of the weekend to improve the car during each session. Our priority was to have a competitive car, and it was as Franck set a very good time during the qualifying session."
During the race, you get into the car after gearbox issues. How do you feel at that point??
"Focused, as usual, even if this is a hard blow. We were high in the classification as we were fighting with the Lolas- Rebellion. But the race was still not over and I relied on Pierre and Franck's comments, who told me that the car was doing well. I felt well in the car very early in my first stint. I had a good pace even if I couldn't know it from the beginning. By the way, I would like to pay tribute to the mechanics, who fixed our gearbox issue so quickly and to the great job from the Dunlop crew, whose new tires were fantastic here at Spa."
The end of the race has not been easy......
"No, I stopped in the gravel bed at the Bruxelles corner at the end of my first stint, and then the rain started again at the end of the race. We put intermediate tires to secure our place, but the rain stopped. It was tough and not easy to deal with the car's behavior in such conditions. But this is car- racing, and we have to adapt."
What did you learn from the second step towards Le Mans?
"I never felt better in a team before and I never took so much pleasure in driving a car. This is very promising for the rest of the season! I just have to stay very focused because one slip in concentration at the wheel is fatal. Regarding the result, we were able to beat the Lolas-Rebellion above board. With this car and this team, we have a good potential for Le Mans. This is what we have to keep in mind."
Now, you head for the Nordschleife for the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring...
"This is, with Le Mans, one of the highlights of the season. This is a different race with a different team VW Motorsport a different car the Volkswagen Scirocco and very different surroundings. I have to tackle the event with modesty. The Nordschleife can very easily get the upper hand on the driver if (s)he doesn't show respect to it. What is difficult for me is that I haven't driven there for one year. But I have the same goal: do better, always!"
The next event is the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring on May 15 and 16...
-source: Vanina Ickx pr