ORECA-Matmut Le Mans Wednesday Report

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Circuit de la Sarthe

Team ORECA-Matmut: First goal reached for the #10 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP…
Nicolas Lapierre, Loïc Duval and Olivier Panis completed the free practice and first qualifying sessions in seventh position.

The Team ORECA-Matmut trio accomplished its first mission: prepare for the race while searching for the ideal setup…

After experiencing scrutineering under the rain, it’s on a dry track that Team ORECA-Matmut began to practice for the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans. The first day was comprised of a free practice (4 hours) and a first qualifying session (2 hours). Nicolas Lapierre, Loïc Duval and Olivier Panis took advantage of the track time to fine-tune the settings on their Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, which they had no trouble with on the Sarthe circuit.

Olivier Panis, Loic Duval, Nicolas Lapierre
Olivier Panis, Loic Duval, Nicolas Lapierre

Photo by: Rainier Ehrhardt

For Team ORECA-Matmut, whether it be practice or qualifying, the mission was the same: prepare for the race, calmly and methodically. For this, the team is relying on their experience from last year and from earlier in the season. The three drivers, winners at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March, quickly found the car they know so well. “Right from the start, the car handled like it did at the Test Day,” explains Loïc Duval. “The pace came naturally and I‟m happy with the setup. The handling evolved between the two sessions: we need to start with a more neutral balance, but the first impression is positive. We are where we want to be, that‟s to say between the factory cars and the “petrol” prototypes.”

The same sentiment came from Olivier Panis, who, among other things, worked on long stints: “I‟m very pleased with the car. We are particularly good in the third sector. We all ran very well, with good pace. I think we are in the right timing and this session confirms that we have an opportunity. The car is „quick‟ and easy to drive. It‟s always a joy to drive here!”

After an interruption for a mechanical issue, the Team ORECA-Matmut started up at 10p.m. where they left off at 4p.m. Nicolas, Loïc and Olivier once again took turns at the controls during the first qualifying session, continuing their quest to find the best setup for the race. “Wednesday‟s result corresponds perfectly to our objectives,” says Hugues de Chaunac. “The goal is to have the best car for the race. We know what we can count on and the gap to the “official” 2011 prototypes is reasonable. We are following our program.”

The #10 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP concludes its day in seventh position while the #8 Peugeot 908 of Sarrazin/Montagny/Minassian currently holds the provisional pole position over the three Audi R18s.

-source: oreca matmut

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Series LEMANS
Tags duval, lapierre, matmut, oreca, panis, peugeot