A bit of a disappointment for Olivier Pla Qualified fifth, the driver from Toulouse and his Ginetta-Zytek had to retire early at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Olivier Pla and Quifel-ASM Team were ready to undertake ambitiously the iconic 24 Hours...
A bit of a disappointment for Olivier Pla
Qualified fifth, the driver from Toulouse and his Ginetta-Zytek had to retire early at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Olivier Pla and Quifel-ASM Team were ready to undertake ambitiously the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Ginettea-Zytek Nr. 40 has been a key-player of the LMP2 class since the beginning of the season, and was one of the pretenders to the podium. The Portuguese team was unfortunately forced into retirement after four hours in the race, because of braking problems.
Olivier had yet a good start in the week long Le Mans' event. After the traditional technical scrutineering on the Jacobins Square, the team set a promising third time of the free practice session on Wednesday. The qualifying session on Thursday has confirmed the first impressions, the driver from Toulouse chalking up the fifth time. " The Ginetta-Zytek was competitive, either on a wet or a dry track " confirmed Olivier. " We should have been right behind the two Porsches in qualifying, but I didn't have a clear lap. The most important thing was to stay focused on the race set-ups, and from this point of view, the session has been successful. Our car was very well balanced and perfect for a 24-hour race, even if we could guess from the lap-times that there would be two races: the Porsches' and "other than Porsches'" race. The battle with the Lolas was going to be tough! "
Guy Smith was the starting driver on Saturday at 3pm. The Briton had nevertheless to stop in the pits less than one hour after the start, because of engine cuts. The Ginetta-Zytek could go back on track, but a mechanical issue would put an end to the race: Miguel Amaral went off at the first Hunaudières' chicane because of a braking problem. " There is nothing that Miguel could do " continued Olivier. " He was able to drive the car back to the pits, but damage was so big that we could not keep on running. "
For Olivier, who didn't drive at all during the race, and for the whole Quifel-ASM Team, this retirement led to a huge disappointment: " The team and Zytek made such a great deal of effort to get ready for Le Mans. The hard work of several months has not been rewarded. It is hard to put up with it, but this is the way motorsport is. We had a very competitive car that is confirmed by the third race time. We knew that we had a good card to play, but that's just the way it is. "
Olivier concluded by looking to the remaining races of the Le Mans Series: " I am a little bit disappointed, but I need to look forward. We can expect good results from the three races left, especially in Algarve. In Portugal (1000km of Algarve, from July 31 to August 2), the whole team will be highly motivated! We still can fight for the title, and we will do our best. I am even more determined to succeed! "