Circuit de la Sarthe
24 Hours of Le Mans, H+4: Knocking at the door of the top 5….
The Team ORECA-Matmut Peugeot 908 HDi FAP is in the fight behind the three Peugeot 908s and the two Audi R18s after four stints for Nicolas Lapierre.
After four hours of racing, the Team ORECA-Matmut Peugeot 908 HDi FAP is running in sixth position. For the start of the 79th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans – marked by a safety car period lasting more than an hour - the team focused on driving a smart race, following a quick pace but not pushing the limits. It’s a strategy that has paid off so far as the Lapierre/Duval/ Panis driving squad has run as high as fourth position.
Like last year, Nicolas took the start. He completed no less than four stints at the controls of the #10 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, which is now running behind the 2011 LMP1s. “It took me a lap to get the tyres up to temperature, but after that, everything went well. I didn’t encounter any particular problems: our Peugeot is handling well. We’re a little behind in pure performance, but it’s what we imagined. We’re running our race without hurrying. The race will be long and difficult. Traffic will be one of the keys, as will the track temperature. There is no room for error.”
After starting from the fourth row, the #10 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP is slightly held up at the first corner to find eighth position. Nicolas Lapierre wastes no time to retake seveth, finding a gap to pass the #12 Lola-Toyota at the beginning of the second lap in the Dunlop chicane. He then adopts a quickened pace which keeps him within 30 seconds of the leaders after a half-hour of racing. After a fuel stop, he continues the pace and finds the sixth position after the #3 Audi accident at the end of the first hour. The “Lion” pits again once the safety car is off track shortly after 5 p.m. Nico’ is then running in fifth place. He temporarily reaches fourth place and adopts a good cadence keeping him consistently in the top five. After another pitstop, Loïc Duval has now taken over the controls. He is sixth, less than two minutes behind the leading car. . -source: oreca