Circuit de la Sarthe
- Alexandre Prémat, Dominik Kraihamer and David Hallyday were fighting for victory before an incident during the 16th hour.
- Leader for several hours, the ORECA 03 showed its qualities...
=== Longtime leader, the Team ORECA-Matmut ORECA 03 retires…
Hugues de Chaunac had fixed two major objectives in LMP2 for the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours. To take advantage of the twice around the clock classic to gather as much information as possible on the ORECA 03 and to garner a good result in this class. The Team ORECA-Matmut showed the prototype’s qualities : pure performance and good reliability as the car encountered no major issues during its race.
Drivers Alexandre Prémat, Dominik Kraihamer and David Hallyday ran in the lead of LMP2 starting in the first hour until the eleventh hour – a category that was particularly competitive this year. After a minor electrical problem in the night, the team exchanged first and second places depending on pitstop rotation. Still in the fight at the start of the 16th hour, the #48 ORECA 03 was forced to retire after David Hallyday had an off track excursion. A cruel finish for a team that had performed so well since the start.
« It’s obviously a huge disappointment for Team ORECA-Matmut, » confides Hugues de Chaunac after the retirement of the car at 6 :41 a.m. « Until now, the drivers had been flawless. Alexandre had a superb quintuple stint and Dominik shined during the night. Here, it’s a error on the part of David that keeps us from realising an excellent result. It’s always difficult to see the positive in these situations. Nevertheless, after showing its potential and pure performance earlier in the season, the ORECA 03 once again showed its qualities. We learned a lot on the car this week. Our hopes now rest with Signatech-Nissan who can possible reach the podium… »
Starting in third for the 79th edition, Alexandre Prémat has a very good start placing him into second place in the first lap. He closes the gap to the leader to take command of the race during the first round of pitstops. In the lead, the #48 ORECA 03 driver widens the gap after a first safety car period and a remarkable quintuple stint. He hands the controls to Dominik Kraihamer with a two minute lead. The Austrian experiences his first race stint at La Sarthe before being replaced by David Hallyday. The trio continues to widen the gap to make it a one lap lead.
Alexandre Prémat jumps back in the car before the third-way point of the race. After a safety car period lasting more than two hours, the Team ORECA-Matmut intervenes to fix a telemetry antenna. A few laps later and the #48 pits again with a minor electrical problem. The Signes prototype rejoins the race in second position. At night, Dominik Kraihamer celebrated his debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with two consecutive double stints and regains control of the class ! He’s back and forth with the Zytek/Greaves until sunrise. David Hallyday takes his turn at the wheel and leaves the track while in second place, about six minutes after the start of the 16th hour. The car is too damaged and is forced to retire.
-source: team oreca-matmut