Olivier Pla race report

Olivier Pla at the finish with the Quifel-ASM Team... With Miguel Amaral and Warren Hughes, the driver from Toulouse finished the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 7th place in the LMP2 category aboard the Ginetta-Zytek. Olivier Pla, winner of the 1000km...

Olivier Pla at the finish with the Quifel-ASM Team...

With Miguel Amaral and Warren Hughes, the driver from Toulouse finished the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 7th place in the LMP2 category aboard the Ginetta-Zytek.

Olivier Pla, winner of the 1000km of Spa, was looking forward to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with ambition. He was with the team he began his sportscar career with, Quifel-ASM Team. In addition to Miguel Amaral, his teammate in Le Mans Series, Warren Hughes joined the action to complete the driving squad. Facing the quick HPD (Honda) powered cars on the fast Sarthe circuit, the battle would not be easy. But the Toulouse native was determined to fight.

After the traditional "Pesage," or scrutineering, practice began on a positive note with the fourth time in LMP2 for the Ginetta-Zytek No.40. This good performance was confirmed during the three qualifying sessions with the same result, fourth place. "Our testing at Motorland in May was beneficial," noted Olivier. "We tthought we had made a good step forward and this is the confirmation. The car was really well balanced."

So the Quifel-ASM Team would start from the second row in LMP2. Olivier made a good start and stayed consistently in the top three. Unfortunately a transmission problem in the middle of the night would stop the momentum for the Portuguese team. "The repairs cost us over 30 minutes," explains the driver from Toulouse, who was fighting for third place before this mechanical problem. "It's a shame, because the beginning of the race was very good. We had adopted a smart strategy: follow a good rhythm, without pushing the car too hard. We knew the HPDs would be hard to get, but we were in the fight."

Once again on track, the Le Mans Series LMP2 champion didn't give up. "We continued to attack. Le Mans is so difficult that anything can happen. The top three was still possible in this point." Unfortunately, after an off from one of his teammates, Olivier was forced to say goodbye to his podium chances. After stopping for more than two hours in the pits, the Ginetta-Zytek rejoined the race to finish in seventh place in LMP2 and 20th overall.

"It's always good to finish at Le Mans, but we wanted more," admits Olivier Pla. "We had the potential to aim for the podium. Therefore, it's a disappointment. Crossing the finish line is still a good reward for the team, who really did a good job. Now, we are turning our attention to the second half of the Le Mans Series, with three tracks that I like coming up. We want to finish in the top three of the championship and win races like we did at Spa."

Next race will be in Portugal with the 1000km of Algarve, July 15-17...

-source: olivier pla

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Warren Hughes , Olivier Pla , Miguel Amaral