AIM Team ORECA-Matmut 01 race report

AIM Team ORECA Matmut: Fourth behind the Audis! Soheil Ayari, Didier Andre and Andy Meyrick in the ORECA 01 finish in fourth place, behind Audi but ahead of the other constructors. The AIM Team Matmut had set one objective for the 24 Hours of...

AIM Team ORECA Matmut: Fourth behind the Audis!

Soheil Ayari, Didier Andre and Andy Meyrick in the ORECA 01 finish in fourth place, behind Audi but ahead of the other constructors.

The AIM Team Matmut had set one objective for the 24 Hours of Le Mans: repeat their performance from last year. The team accomplished their mission as Soheil Ayari, Didier Andre and Andy Meyrick finish the grueling race in fourth place overall and first in the petrol-powered cars, ahead of Aston Martin. After finishing in fifth in 2009, the ORECA 01, now with Dunlop tyres, confirms its strengths, both in reliability and performance.

That being the case, it was not always easy for the No.6, which experienced an eventful beginning of the race. After an initial come from behind effort, Soheil, Didier and Andy were forced to regroup once again after being hit by another competitor in the middle of the night. Their patience and tenacity paid off as the three men come home with a very good result at a particularly difficult edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with competition from four Peugeots, three Audis and three Aston Martins.

Race recap...

After starting from the tenth position on the grid, Soheil Ayari holds his place through the first lap. He must then give way to the No.008 Aston Martin in the Mulsanne Straight. The ORECA 01 then follows the pace until the first pit stop, during which the team changes the front bodywork. A little after the start of the second hour, the No.6 is forced to pit again after contact with an LMP2. A piece of gravel had gotten stuck under the car. The evening would be more calme, apart from a quick off at Arnage from Andy Meyrick. The trio of Ayari/Andre/Meyrick ups their tempo and climb their way back from 16th to 10th place.

Unfortunately, 20 minutes before mid-race, Didier Andre is hit by another competitor at the entrance to the Porsche curves. The team spends 20 minutes replacing the rear assembly and rear suspension. The drivers rejoin the race with one goal: avoid any problems. The tactic pays off and the AIM powered ORECA 01 experienced a good rest of the race. Soheil Ayari finds the top ten in the 18th hour as he improves the car's best time from qualifying! At morning's end, the No.6, slips into eighth place then seventh during the 22nd hour. Despite a starter problem, Soheil Ayari, Didier Andre and Andy Meyrick continue to move up the leaderboard. The end of the race sees a lot of action and the three men take over the spots left vacant by withdrawing cars to finish in fourth place after several ups and downs! Hugues de Chaunac, President of the ORECA group: "It's an extraordinary result. No one could have imagined this fourth place from the start. No one would have bet that we would finish higher than in 2009. It's proof that the work from the team was excellent. The ORECA 01 is our home-built prototype and to see fourth place behind three Audis is a way to show that design is one of the strengths of ORECA. In a general manner, we are confirming our result from last year: that fifth place was not by accident!"

David Floury, Technical Director: "After last year's result, we never thought we'd be able to do better. But we did better! It wasn't without hiccups, with three incidents. But we knew how to keep the reliability. The objective was first place in petrol-powered cars and sixth overall. The mission is accomplished. We had a little bit of luck, but it is especially a good reward for the team work. I'd like to congratulate Audi, who realised an exceptional triple and Romain Dumas who drove with us at Petit Le Mans for his win."

Soheil Ayari: "We were solid: we held on despite the different incidents. We experienced a complicated race, but everyone did a very good job, notably my teammates, who were very serious. The challenge was really complicated and difficult. The objectives set were almost impossible to meet. But we got there, and after last year's fifth place, this result tastes even better."

Didier Andre: "I wouldn't say it's an unexpected result. The race is so long that anything is possible. We encountered a few problems but these wouldn't have changed our end result. It's a great satisfaction to have contributed to this result, my best here at Le Mans, with such a great team. I'm happy and proud to have participated in this adventure."

Andy Meyrick: "I don't know what to say. There aren't any words. I have at least a million thoughts going through my head. I'm happy. It didn't necessarily start very well, but after that we did the job. I'd like to say that I share the disappointment with the Team ORECA-Matmut and the Peugeot. It's not two teams, but one big team. I'd also like to thank the drivers of the 908 HDi FAP. I couldn't have hoped to have a better first Le Mans. We just had to attack and attack. The car was incredible and easy to drive. It was exactly what we needed."

-source: oreca

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Didier André , Romain Dumas , Soheil Ayari , Hugues de Chaunac , Andy Meyrick