Pescarolo and Primat determined to challenge Peugeot at Valencia
Following impressive second and fourth place finishes in Round One at Monza, Pescarolo Sport heads to Valencia next weekend determined to close the gap on the works Peugeot squad.
Valencia makes its debut on the Le Mans Series calendar in 2007 and although none of the Pescarolo Sport team has raced there before, Geneva-based driver Harold Primat does have experience of the circuit from his days in the World Series by Nissan.
Primat said: "It's a nice circuit but it is more of a motorcycle circuit and not ideally suited to endurance racing due to it being so narrow. There is only one line for certain corners and very little space for overtaking. I think the LMP2 cars might spring a few surprises there because they are 200 kilos lighter and that will be a big advantage at Valencia. For us though, now we have the reliability side sorted, we need to concentrate on the performance side of the car. That means we must find more front grip by improving aerodynamic and mechanical grip and I am confident the team can do that."
However Harold's top priority is to improve his comfort in the car as he still struggles to find the ideal position to house his 6ft 3in (1.89m) frame inside the cockpit. "To be comfortable in the car is really important as, because of Valencia's twisty layout, it will affect me more than other circuits. The track layout is anti-clockwise, which is something we're not used to, and there is no time to relax because there are so many corners and so few straights. We're hoping to do some more work with the team in the build-up to the race to improve my position."
Team mate Christophe Tinseau is a Valencia debutant, but has done his homework on the circuit and is expecting a good race. "It's a very technical circuit with lots of slow and mid-speed corners. To do well we'll need a very good chassis and have to work on the aerodynamics. Perhaps, thanks to the fact that we'll only be on the throttle 50% of the time, rather than 75% as at Monza, we can close the gap to Peugeot, although their extra power should give them an advantage anywhere."
Henri Pescarolo agreed: "We may reduce the gap (to Peugeot) at this type of circuit and if we do, and they have to push a bit more, maybe that will benefit us. I will be briefing my drivers to be more cautious in the traffic because we saw in the last race of the American Le Mans Series that Audi were beaten after they made contact with a slower car. The heat will also be difficult to manage in Valencia, but we have worked on a new air cooling system especially for this race, so I'm not anticipating any problems."
Pescarolo Sport chief engineer Claude Gallopin revealed some of the aero changes the team has planned: "We hope to have new front bodywork, front splitter and sidepods, but it depends on delays with our suppliers and it may be difficult to have everything ready for Valencia because the time is so short between races giving us no time to test. Our main job though, in terms of set-up will be downforce."
The 1000kms of Valencia takes place on Sunday 6 May and can be watched live across Europe on Motors TV. Visit www.motorstv.com for details.