Circuit de la Sarthe
Team ORECA-Matmut : A flawless race is the aim…
Presently 3rd in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, Team ORECA-Matmut arrives in La Sarthe with humility…and a high goal! The #10 Peugeot HDi FAP of Nicolas Lapierre, Loïc Duval and Olivier Panis will carry a “like” sticker on the front cover.
Fifth in the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours and fourth in 2010, Team ORECA-Matmut is entering the 79th edition with ambition. Currently third in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup behind Peugeot Sport and Audi Sport, the team from Signes joins the Peugeot marque in the duel with Audi. With Nicolas Lapierre, Loïc Duval and Olivier Panis behind the wheel of the Peugeot HDi FAP, Hugues de Chaunac and his team can count on a known package.
We'll see on Sunday at noon where we stand.
In March, Team ORECA-Matmut realised a great achievement with a win at the 12 Hours of Sebring, providing vital points to Peugeot in ILMC. In Florida, Nicolas Lapierre, Loïc Duval, Olivier Panis and the rest of the team had a flawless race to finish on the top step of the podium. It‟s with this in mind that the team heads to La Sarthe, THE challenge of the year. “We‟re entering Le Mans hoping to do exactly what we did at Sebring,” confirms Hugues de Chaunac. “We are adopting the same stategy – everyone doing their job, engineers, mechanics and drivers – to be flawless. We'll see on Sunday at noon where we stand.”
As is the case every year, the field is top quality, notably with the presence of new Peugeot 908s, winner of the 1000km of Spa, and Audi R18, which signed the fastest time during the Le Mans Test Day. Behind these six prototypes, Team ORECA-Matmut hopes to play its cards right. “5th in 2009, 4th in 2010…We want to reach the podium!” admits the President of Groupe ORECA. “It‟s a tall order considering the competition. We know this, but we must remain ambitious. If we have a perfect race, it‟s possible.”
To accomplish this mission, Team ORECA-Matmut will count on a trio of talented drivers: Nicolas Lapierre, Loïc Duval and Olivier Panis. “We have three men who complement each other very well,” underlines Hugues de Chaunac. “Without each one, the driving squad is not at the same level. Each contributes something different. Nicolas and Loïc are two young drivers with enormous potential. They are solid drivers who keep their heads about them. They are similar in a lot of ways, but each event brings something different out of each. Olivier, because of his experience, is very important for the team‟s cohesion. He‟s the unifier. We are both lucky and very happy to have these three guys in our team.”
As was the case last year, Team ORECA-Matmut will enter the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP. It‟s a car the technical team and drivers know perfectly. “We have a known package, that‟s our strength,” notes David Floury, Technical Director. “We saw it at Sebring, the car is excellent. We have the upper hand in that we understand the car and we‟ve run the 24 Hours of Le Mans with it previously. Whether it be in the performance or in solving potential problems, it‟s a great advantage.”
After the traditional scrutineering (Sunday, June 5, at 4:15pm/4:30pm for Team ORECA-Matmut), free practice and qualifying will be Wednesday, June 8 and Thursday, June 9. “The testing plan will be determined by the weather,” confides David Floury. “Because of the regulations, it‟s clear that these are preparatory sessions. It‟s not a question of going out and setting a time to be in such and such position on the grid.”
-source: oreca matmut