Circuit de la Sarthe
Team ORECA-Matmut : A good rhythm for the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP…
Nicolas Lapierre, Loïc Duval and Olivier Panis will start the 24 Hours of Le Mans in seventh position.
At the end of qualifying, the Team ORECA-Matmut driving squad is satisfied with the handling of the #10 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP.
After a positive first day on Wednesday, the continuation of qualifying went as well for the #10 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP. Nicolas Lapierre, Loïc Duval and Olivier Panis continued along the same lines, improving little by little their setup on their car. Before the 79th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the trio have had a conclusive two days of practice.
Like the previous night, Nicolas Lapierre, Loïc Duval and Olivier Panis took turns onboard the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP with different missions to accomplish. They each fine-tuned the setup while completing long stints. Like the drivers, the technical team prepared for the race by working on mock problems in order to practice. Contrary to the free practice and first qualifying session, the « Lion » was using the race engine during these last two qualifying sessions.
Conserving the seventh place earned on Wednesday, Nicolas, Loïc and Olivier completed the entire scheduled program despite a long red flag period. "I was able to make a few good runs, with different tyres, » confides Nicolas. « This allowed us to make a good comparison. We worked well : we always went in the right direction. The car is better, especially on the bumps : it’s comfortable. Our times are pretty close and the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP was excellent : it’s a good sign. The race will be long and we’ll have to weary of the petrol prototypes. I can’t wait to take the start on Saturday !"
"These two days went very well, » adds Loïc. « Never did we go for a time, even though the rhythm was good. Our best time is not representative, but seventh place is. It’s encouraging for the rest of the weekend. We are in the position we wanted to be in : not too far from the six official 2011 cars. We were able to improve the handling of the car and obtain a more consistent balance depending on conditions. These were positive practice and qualifying sessions."
David Floury, Technical Director, goes over the results : "It’s hard to compare ourselves to our rivals. Our philosophy is clear : prepare for the race. We encountered no problems and the car evolved progressively. There is still a lot of work to be done on Friday, with certain race pieces to be installed and a few details to be addressed."
The start of the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours will be given Saturday, June 11, at 3p.m.