Team ORECA-Matmut: 4th place after a shortened qualifying session…
At the controls of the Team ORECA-Matmut Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, Nicolas Lapierre, Loïc Duval et Olivier Panis will start from the second row.
Qualifying for the 1000km of Spa was interrupted with six minutes left after an on-track incident.
The Team ORECA-Matmut will be among more than fifty cars competing in the 1000km of Spa, second round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. The #10 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP will start from fourth place after a qualifying session that was stopped six minutes before the scheduled chequered flag. As a result of the #15 OAK-Pescarolo crash, several protagonists were unable to complete a qualifying lap. Although the practice sessions were interrupted by several red flags, Nicolas Lapierre, Loïc Duval and Olivier Panis were able to find their marks on the Eau Rouge circuit. The three men we able to improve on the #10 Peugeot HDi FAP’s setup during each session for a car that gives confidence in race configuration. Against the three Audi R18s and alongside the three official Peugeot 908s, Team ORECA-Matmut was logically concentrated on the race during these practice sessions.
Nicolas Lapierre was charged with qualifying the car, signing the fourth quickest time behind the three Audi R18s. The Peugeot 908s were unable to put in a fast time due to the shortened session. “In terms of laptimes, I think that we’re in our place,” explains Nicolas. “I encountered a bit of traffic in my first lap but the second was quite good. We’ve really progressed with the setup, even if we know the room for improvement is slight because we know the car so well. We have a car that fits us and is well-balanced. I think we can maintain a good rhythm in the race. We saw, just from the practice and qualifying sessions, that we’ll have to do our best to avoid trouble. We must also have perfect strategy, keeping in mind a pitstop here is very long.”
For David Floury, the Technical Director for Team ORECA-Matmut, the first goal has been met. “We prepared well for the race,” he confirms. “We concentrated on our work, without worrying about the performance of others. We fine-tuned the setup during the sessions to have a car that the drivers are satisfied with. More than ever, running a smart race is the key. We’ll really have to avoid problems and on this track, there’s a number of traps if you’re not careful. We hope Matthieu Lahaye (driver of the #15 OAK-Pescarolo) is OK and we wish him a speedy recovery.”
The start of the 1000km of Spa will be given Saturday, May 7, at 2:05 p.m.