Chrysler pre qualifying pre-view

Chrysler Team ORECA will field three Chrysler Le Mans Prototypes at next weekend's (6 May) trials for the 69th edition of the Le Mans 24 hours in June. The trials are non-competitive, allowing the teams to test their cars on the part-public road...

Chrysler Team ORECA will field three Chrysler Le Mans Prototypes at next weekend's (6 May) trials for the 69th edition of the Le Mans 24 hours in June. The trials are non-competitive, allowing the teams to test their cars on the part-public road course for the only time before the race. The 48 cars that will take the start of the 24-hours on 16 June have already been selected, including the three Chrysler LMPs, leaving the teams with no pressure to set competitive times.

The Mopar 6-litre V8-powered cars made their race debut in the opening round of the European Le Mans Series at Donington, Britain, two weeks ago (14 April) and the team was suitably encouraged as Monegasque Olivier Beretta qualified and ran fourth in the early stages of the race. Since then, the team has been testing a revised version of the engine, that will provide more power and a greater top speed in preparation for the high-speed, 13.6km Le Mans circuit.

"I am hoping for a full day on the track at Le Mans as it is our only opportunity before the race," said Beretta. "I think that the car will be fast. The chassis is very good and we will have a new evolution Mopar engine. We need time to understand and develop the car and the only way we can do that is to put it on the track at Le Mans. I am really looking forward to that."

Beretta, a class winner at Le Mans for two consecutive years, will share the driving duties with his equally successful co-driver Karl Wendlinger and four-time overall winner, Yannick Dalmas.

The ORECA team will also operate a youth policy for the second successive year, giving young drivers an opportunity to drive in the most famous race in the world. This year, German Norman Simon, and Frenchmen Franck Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin will be part of the nine-man line-up. The pairings at Le Mans have yet to be finalised, as have the final three drivers' identities for June.

Pierre Dieudonné, Sporting Director at ORECA, was encouraged by the Donington race and is aiming for a top-five finish at Le Mans this year. "We are hitting our targets with the development of the car, but we are going step-by-step," he said. "There is a lot of work to do before Le Mans.

"We will go humbly to Le Mans but hope to achieve our goal of being competitive. If we could put a car between third and fifth we could be happy with our work. There is an old rule of racing, though. If you are on the starting grid, you stand a chance of winning it!"

Four Chrysler Viper GTS R/Ts will take part in the trials next weekend. Two come from Paul Belmondo Racing, one from the ORECA-managed Equipe de France FFSA and one from Larbre Competition, that will defend its lead in the FIA GT Championship at Magny Cours this Tuesday (1 May).

Donington pictures and reports are available: www.viper-motorsport.com To download pictures, the username required is viper, the password is gtsr For further information, contact Cara de Vlaming: 00 31 653 463 184

-Viper Motorsport

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Yannick Dalmas , Karl Wendlinger , Norman Simon , Franck Montagny , Stéphane Sarrazin , Paul Belmondo , Olivier Beretta , Pierre Dieudonné
Teams Larbre Competition