Mission accomplished Two weeks after he retired from the Le Mans 24 Hours with engine failure, Guillaume Moreau returned to Le Mans Series action at the Nurburgring. He drove a strong double stint in the middle of the race at the wheel of ...
Two weeks after he retired from the Le Mans 24 Hours with engine failure, Guillaume Moreau returned to Le Mans Series action at the Nurburgring. He drove a strong double stint in the middle of the race at the wheel of the works Courage-AER LC70, keeping the team's podium expectations alive. Unfortunately, Jean-Marc Gounon went off with 25 minutes to go, and the number 13 car dropped back to 12th overall, and 8th in the LMP1 class.
Jean-Marc Gounon set the sixth fastest time in qualifying. Guillaume only drove the car briefly during the practice session. But he could draw on his F3 and WSR experience of the German venue. Last May, he finished 4th in a World Series 3.5 round.
At the beginning of the race, Jean-Marc Gounon quickly moved up into third, behind the Peugeot pair. The former F1 driver was closely chased by four petrol-powered prototypes. The team's strategy was to race on medium compound tyres, and to run the same set of tyres for a full double stint. After two hours, Guillaume jumped in the car with the mission to save petrol. He held third place during his first stint despite a conservative pace, but Jean-Christophe Boullion's Pescarolo was closing in. He pitted at 3:01 pm for refuelling but kept his used tyres, so he could extend the gap. This time the team order was to push as hard as possible to keep the Pescarolo behind. Guillaume pushed hard but the Le Mans podium finisher on fresh tyres was faster and Boullion got past at 3:13. Guillaume ended his double stint 45 minutes later in fourth position. Like his young team-mate, Jean-Marc Gounon gained time in the pits, but lost out to Collard's Pescarolo on the track. He eventually went off less than half an hour before the end of the race, losing fourth place in the process.
One of the car's major sponsors is Manitou, but there was no fork-lift truck available in the area so Jean-Marc had to wait for a few minutes before he could escape from the gravel trap! Team and drivers had to be satisfied with scoring a single point on the series table.
Guillaume Moreau said: "I would have liked to dedicate a good result to the team crew. Since we finished 5th in Monza earlier this year, there has been a step forward with the car, which allowed us to challenge and that's good news. I wasn't asked to drive the car in qualifying, but I think I did a good job and proved to be fast and consistent during my stints. I made no mistake despite heavy traffic. At the beginning, I was told to save petrol, and I did so, while still holding on to third. Then they asked me to push and I set good lap times, but there was nothing we could do with the Pescarolo running on new tyres. Jean-Marc is an experienced driver, but he couldn't stay close to Collard, and he went off. It's a shame it happened in this particular corner, but I think the marshals did their best. We just tried too hard! Finally, I would like to thank Peugeot's team-manager Serge Saulnier. I was still aching from the Le Mans crash, and Peugeot's osteopath took care of me."
Guillaume is now heading to the Hungaroring, to take part in the fourth World Series by Renault event, on July 14th and 15th. The next Le Mans Series round will take place at Spa-Francorchamps on August 19th.