WSR

Le Mans: Tech 1 Racing race report

Tech 1 Racing shines at home-- More than 160,000 spectators turned out for France's round of the World Series by Renault, held on the Le Mans Bugatti circuit. Tech 1 Racing, the only French team competing on the World ...

Tech 1 Racing shines at home--

More than 160,000 spectators turned out for France's round of the World Series by Renault, held on the Le Mans Bugatti circuit. Tech 1 Racing, the only French team competing on the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 Championship, was at the forefront of the action. Ryo Fukuda claimed another fourth place, while Patrick Pilet scored points in both races!

Since the Istanbul race meeting, Tech 1 Racing has been on the up. At Le Mans, the team owned by Simon and Sarah Abadie took 20 points. This was the third-highest score of the weekend, behind Draco Multiracing USA and Comtec Racing: the two teams fighting for the championship as the season draws to a close!

These performances are a credit to the Toulouse-based team's technical staff, which has been working flat-out since the beginning of the year. The first qualifying session at Le Mans underlined the team's progress: Patrick Pilet missed out on setting fastest time in front of Tristan Gommendy by just two-thousandths of a second! Ryo Fukuda also enjoyed a strong session, qualifying on the fourth row of the grid.

Things were not quite so good in the race: after making a solid start, Patrick Pilet ended up in the gravel trap at the Dunlop chicane on the opening lap. He managed to get going again but lost several places, eventually fighting back to finish fifth. Simon Abadie commented: "We lost the opportunity to take our first podium: it's a real pity. " Ryo Fukuda was in a position to take the points for seventh place, before he was bundled off the track by Andy Soucek just three laps from the end--

Sunday morning's second qualifying session did not go as well as the first session for Tech 1 Racing but there was a reason behind this: heavy rain. Simon Abadie explained: " We do not have so much experience in these conditions. We have run in the rain before but never twice in quick succession, so we did not really get the chance to improve our set-up. "

Ryo and Patrick qualified 21st and 25th, so both drivers were desperately hoping for the sun to come out again in time for the race! The weather got better, but the track was still wet when the race started. Pit stop strategy, with the correctly-timed change from wets to slicks, would be a determining factor in the final results--

The first corner turned out to be dramatic, but Tech 1 Racing's two black and white Formula Renault 3.5s managed to avoid the carnage. Both Ryo and Patrick drove a superb opening lap, ending it in 7th and 14th places respectively!

By the time Ryo came into the pits, he had worked his way up to fourth. Once all the stops were over, the Japanese driver managed to keep his position right up to the end. Patrick was still out of the points when he made his stop, but drove some brilliant final laps on slick tyres to climb to 7th by the race finish.

Simon Abadie had several reasons to be cheerful. " For four races now, we have been continually improving, " he said. " The hard work we have all put in over the last nine months is finally paying off: I will remember above all our performance in the first qualifying session, which is a sure sign of our progress. We had another mountain to climb in the wet, but I must admit we were lacking some performance. I believe that our first podium could have been here this weekend, but it will definitely be the objective for our next races in Barcelona! "

-credit: tech 1 racing

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