FLM: Paul Ricard: Energy Racing race report

PAUL RICARD, 11-04-10. This weekend Nicolas Decrem together with his team- mates Dominik Kraihamer (Austria) and Bernard Delhez (Belgium) competed in the first race of the internationally renowned Le Mans Series. As such the first test of the...

PAUL RICARD, 11-04-10. This weekend Nicolas Decrem together with his team- mates Dominik Kraihamer (Austria) and Bernard Delhez (Belgium) competed in the first race of the internationally renowned Le Mans Series. As such the first test of the season at the Paul Ricard (France) circuit was on the agenda for the Boutsen Energy Racing team. In the Formula Le Mans class the trio ran a strong race; however an incident in the opening round and a problem with the gearbox withheld them from converting their performance into a positive result.

The Formula Le Mans is a competition comprised out of identical prototypes powered by a Corvette engine. The series races together with the Le Mans Series and is the ideal schooling for the international endurance scene. Nicolas Decrem, Dominik Kraihamer and the experienced Bernard Delhez will be competing in the five races of the championship, with as main target clinching the title in Formula Le Mans.

During the free practice sessions the trio immediately proved that they could measure up with the top players in the Formula Le Mans class. Two fourth places and one third spot during the free practice sessions were a perfect preparation for the 8 hour-long race on Sunday. But the qualifying session still had to be worked out. In fact the latter resulted in a fourth place overall, for the account of Dominik Kraihamer.

Nicolas Decrem: "Personally I didn't drive that much, basically because Bernard (Delhez) had not taken part in an international LMS test day and I had. So Bernard needed to clock up a few additional kilometres and to create a homogenous team it is important that all drivers attain the same rhythm. All in all a strategic decision."

The race itself ran less easily than expected. "Dominik had an encounter in the first lap", Nicolas Decrem explained. "Someone nudged him from the rear and we lost a fair amount of time due to a damaged underside of the car. But the team moved mountains in a record time to repair it and we were able to get back on track. A pity, but that's all part of motorsport."

Nicolas Decrem drove a strong middle stint, with set and constant lap times, and showed that he is cast out of the perfect endurance metal. "I felt great in the car and really enjoy this type of race, notwithstanding the problems we experienced with the accident in the beginning of the event. Near the end a gearbox problem finally caused us to retire from the race. I've gained a fair amount of experience, the team was really great and highly professional to work with and as drivers we are a homogenous trio. Dominik and I are somewhat younger and Bernard exudes a sort of peace which is positive. I'm convinced that we can be amongst the contenders for victory in Spa."

The following race will be held in Spa-Francorchamps on 8th and 9th May.

-source: energy racing

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Dominik Kraihamer , Bernard Delhez