Portimao: Team Oreca race report

The Team ORECA-Matmut has bagged that much sought-after victory! After setting pole in the morning, the fifth in five races this season for the Peugeot 908 HDI FAP, the team won the Algarve 1000 kms, the third round of the 2010 Le Mans Series....

The Team ORECA-Matmut has bagged that much sought-after victory! After setting pole in the morning, the fifth in five races this season for the Peugeot 908 HDI FAP, the team won the Algarve 1000 kms, the third round of the 2010 Le Mans Series. This result consolidates all the work carried out since the start of the season, as well as the overall level of performance seen in the previous events. Olivier Panis and Nicolas Lapierre, who won at Silverstone last September, found themselves back in the winner's circle. They came first in the Portimao race with Peugeot Sport works driver, Stephane Sarrazin, who has taken the lead in the drivers' classification!

After a perfect start to the weekend as the team gradually upped the pace in the three practice sessions, and then set the fastest time in qualifying, Hugues de Chaunac asked his men to put on a zero-fault performance. This is what the team and the drivers achieved after a well-orchestrated event. Panis, Lapierre and Sarrazin got through the Algarve 1000 km without any major hitches, and avoided the traps set by the particularly heavy traffic on the Portimao circuit. The three drivers who were the quickest throughout the race, also managed tyre wear and fuel consumption to perfection, two important parameters which, in addition to sheer performance, enabled the no.4 Peugeot to make the difference in relation to the opposition. The team also performed faultlessly during pit stops, and the trio of French drivers in the 908 HDi FAP took the chequered flag five laps in front of their nearest rival.

The race...

After Lapierre's pole, Panis took the lead at the start. He stayed there and gradually opened up a gap over the 008 Lola-Aston Martin. He began to push and pulled out a lap over the no.12 Lola Rebellion that had taken second place. After an excellent double stint he handed over to Sarrazin who continued at the same pace. Apart from an intervention during a pit stop to change the radio and telemetry antennae sliced off by an external object, the no.4 Peugeot continued to pull away. After two-thirds of the race and Sarrazin's stint, its lead was over two laps. As the sun was setting over the Portimao circuit, Lapierre got into the car. Like his team-mates he was the quickest man on the track. During the night, he confirmed the domination of the 908 HDi FAP, and crossed the finishing line with five laps in hand over his nearest pursuer..

Hugues de Chaunac, ORECA Group President: "The drivers were excellent. They kept up a strong pace without making any mistakes. The team too was very good with very successful pit stops. The start of the season was not easy and it was important for everybody to win here. I'm very happy to see the lads winning with Peugeot. Le Mans left some painful traces and Portiamo is like a ray of sunshine!"

Olivier Panis, no.4 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP: "The Team ORECA-Matmut had a great Le Mans. It was important to remain positive and motivated. Today, it's scored a victory and I'd really like to thank all the team members from the mechanics to the engineers. It was important for the lads to win. Stepping up on to the topmost step of the podium was made all the sweeter as it was with the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP! It's good to win after Le Mans, and I hope there'll be more victories in the future. I've really enjoyed myself throughout the whole meeting with my team- mates, with the team and behind the wheel!"

essential and we've done it. Beyond this success it's the weekend in general that's been a big success. We've had a perfect event; we were able to improve the car in each session; we didn't have any problems and we were always quick. For me the race went off without a hitch. I already had a good lead after Olivier's and Stephane's stints. The car was running so well that all I had to was to nurse it home."

Stephane Sarrazin, no.4 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP: "It's good to win! The team did a super job. We were under a little pressure but we did what we had to. The refuelling stops were excellent and we dove the right kind of race - a good pace and no mistakes. It's also worth underling the way the team's matured since the Le Castellet 8 Hours. I'm delighted to taste the joys of victory again."

David Floury, Directeur Team ORECA-Matmut Technical Director: "It's been a great weekend for the whole team and it was important to succeed in style. We could have messed up so we had to remain concentrated on our objective. The team did a great job throughout the whole meeting. The race wasn't as easy as it looked. We had to change the antennae after they'd been sliced off. That underlined our proactive capacity. It was unforeseen but it was a good test. We added a touch of class to the result!"

-source: oreca

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Olivier Panis , Stéphane Sarrazin , Hugues de Chaunac