A promising return for the Sébastien Loeb Racing...
Arthur Pic and Andrea Roda took their first steps in endurance at the 4 Hours of Le Castellet.
Coming back in the European Le Mans Series, the Sébastien Loeb Racing lined up a new trio featuring two young drivers alongside Vincent Capillaire who has been racing in the ORECA 03R No. 24 since the beginning of the season. Indeed, Arthur Pic and Andrea Roda took their first steps in endurance at the 4 Hours of Le Castellet. That was an enriching and interesting first go in LM P2 which culminated in a sixth-place finish.
We have many reasons to be satisfied with our return to the ELMS
Franck Tiné: “ We had many things to integrate - whether regarding the drivers who were discovering both the car and the discipline, or on a technical level with the ‘post Le Mans’ kit that was being tested in racing conditions for the first time - and we haven’t had much time to do so “ explains Franck Tiné, Sporting Director. “
Thus we had a lot of work as well as many questions in mind. But the team was efficient and productive. What happened at the beginning of the race kept us away from the battle. However, the team did a solid race, without making one single mistake. That’s very satisfying for us. We were right at the heart of a learning process that’s why that sixth place is a positive outcome - in the way we achieved it more than in the result itself.
Discovering endurance racing was a good experience
That place doesn’t reflect our current potential, but is definitely encouraging for what is to come. Finally, we have appreciated collaborating with Arthur and Andrea, while Vincent fulfilled his role as a leader. We have many reasons to be satisfied with our return to the ELMS. “
“ Discovering endurance racing was a good experience “ says Arthur Pic. “ It’s obviously completely different from what I am familiar with as a single-seater driver. Traffic management was particularly new to me. I made a good start and my first stint went well until I had to overtake. It was difficult to start with and I wasted time. I also made a “learning” mistake in the pitlane.
Personally, I think that I could have raced at a higher pace with a little more practice, but the team was satisfied
My second stint was more positive in the way I managed the traffic and also in terms of pace. I was more in tune with my own car as well as with the others on the track. That really makes me want to come back. Racing for the Sébastien Loeb Racing in this type of competitions was an interesting opportunity. “
“ It’s a positive experience for me “ says Andrea Roda. “ Personally, I think that I could have raced at a higher pace with a little more practice, but the team was satisfied. I really had to get used to the traffic, that was the most difficult thing during my stint. I only had a clear track during two or three laps. Everything went well with both the team and my teammates.
The squad was very professional and didn’t make a single mistake. That was very interesting for me to work differently. It was a new approach. I’ve learnt a lot with those first steps in endurance, I enjoyed driving an LM P2, so that’s a positive outcome. “
After two hard-working free practice sessions, where Arthur Pic and Andrea Roda, well-supported by Vincent Capillaire, learnt a lot about LM P2, the team was on the upswing to approach qualifying. Actually, on Sunday morning, Arthur confirmed that the team had gained up some momentum. For his first qualifying session in prototype, and with only two flying laps, he posted an interesting sixth lap time.
At the beginning of the race, the young French driver stayed on that upswing and made a good start, reaching the fifth rank. About thirty minutes later, Arthur then went back two places in the traffic. After a learning mistake in the pitlane, the ORECA 03R No. 24 was back on the track at the seventh place, but one lap behind.
Arthur kept the same set of tyres and made an excellent second stint. Racing at the leader’s pace, he managed to catch up with his opponents, gaining several seconds. Andrea Roda replaced him, making his debut in the discipline. The Italian driver went for a high pace, trying to avoid any problem. Unfortunately, as he spun around, he lost about ten seconds at the end of the second hour of race.
A couple of minutes later, Andrea handed the car to Vincent Capillaire who took to the track for a double stint. The French driver kept on lapping steadily and wisely, staying away from difficulties. He moved up one place throughout the third hour. His last stint was perfect, Vincent finished the race at a very high pace. He finally crossed the finish-line in sixth position.
The Sébastien Loeb Racing will be competing again at the end of the month in Nogaro, as part of the GT Tour. September 27th and 28th will be an important weekend for the team seeking titles both in French GT Championship and in Porsche Carrera Cup France.
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