Portimao: Vanina Ickx race report

Vanina Ickx : A podium on the Portimao "roller-coaster"... The Belgian driver, who shared driving duty with Pierre Ragues and Franck Mailleux in the Lola- Aston Martin fielded by Team Signature-Plus, finished third in the 1000Km of Algarve ...

Vanina Ickx : A podium on the Portimao "roller-coaster"...

The Belgian driver, who shared driving duty with Pierre Ragues and Franck Mailleux in the Lola- Aston Martin fielded by Team Signature-Plus, finished third in the 1000Km of Algarve .

After the 8 Hours of Le Castellet and the 1000Km of Spa, scheduled ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Vanina Ickx tackled the third round of the Le Mans Series. She did well as she climbed on the third step of the podium. The Team Signature-Plus Lola-Aston Martin has raced second for a while early in the race, but a stop-and-go penalty has been issued to the car for speeding in the pitlane. The team's and drivers' hard work paid off despite having no radio as the #008 car crossed the fine in third behind the ORECA Peugeot and a Rebellion Lola.

Vanina, what do you think about the Portimao hilly layout that you discovered last weekend?

"The circuit is a lot like motorsport there are ups and downs, blind corners. We try to predict the unpredictable, but unexpected things always spring behind the bumps, especially because of traffic. By the way I liked the track. I like roller-coasters such as the `Nordschleife'."

It was your first post-Le Mans race. How did you feel after the free practice sessions?

"I was not more confident after the sessions than I was beforehand. Because of an electrical problem during the first practice, we didn't have too much time to drive the car, and the night session is always tricky. I was able to set a good pace in the warm-up. It took me more time than it usually does, but it was my first race on this track. The situation was quite paradoxical as you have to set good lap times and take your time in the same time."

You were sixth when you got into the car and third when your teammate took over. Are you happy with that?

"I didn't look at the times and I drove with cautious in traffic. I had a good feeling at the end of my stint, but I didn't know for certain if it was only a feeling. Then, Philippe Sinault, Pierre Ragues and the whole team were smiling... My stint was great. I needed it. I had to sort things out because I had too much to lose."

After Franck Mailleux's great triple stint, you finished third. What were you thinking of on the podium?

"My mind was empty [laughs]! It is often hard for me to show how happy I am. I didn't take the result for granted. I had to fight to be in Portugal and I could enter the race thanks to an exceptional partner. I could but be convincing. I am really delighted and it is much of a relief. Team Signature- Plus really deserved the podium and should have climbed one more step..."

Did champagne taste good ?

"Yes it did. It was tasty! Especially because I could share it with the team. It rewards Pierre, Franck and Team Signature-Plus' work. The team have been working hard since the beginning of the season, but never saw thefruits of their labour. After Le Mans, the mechanics have worked flat out to get the car ready. Their strenuous efforts have finally been rewarded."

-source: Vanina Ickx

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Vanina Ickx , Pierre Ragues , Franck Mailleux , Philippe Sinault