OAK Racing continues its race preparation OAK Racing used Thursday's four-hour qualifying session to continue its work in preparing its pair of LMP2 Pescarolo-Mazda prototypes for the biggest endurance race in the world, the Le Mans 24 Hours, ...
OAK Racing continues its race preparation
OAK Racing used Thursday's four-hour qualifying session to continue its work in preparing its pair of LMP2 Pescarolo-Mazda prototypes for the biggest endurance race in the world, the Le Mans 24 Hours, which starts on Saturday 13 June at 3pm local time.
Matthieu Lahaye, Guillaume Moreau and Karim Ajlani completed 37 laps of the 13.629km circuit, setting a best time of 3:45.032, good enough for eighth on the LMP2 grid. Team-mates Jacques Nicolet, Richard Hein and Jean-Francois Yvon produced a best time of 3:57.524, the 12th best LMP2 time of the session.
Team Manager Francois Sicard said: "We decided to use qualifying as a practice session. The weather conditions on Wednesday were extremely bad and it was important to have some time working in dry conditions, which was the case last night. We didn't take any unnecessary risks and we continued to work on the set-up of both cars for what will be a long, hard race. Matthieu had the potential to put the #35 car in the top five, but he had traffic at the Porsche Curves on his flying lap. That is a shame, but the most important thing is the race this weekend."
Matthieu Lahaye: "We ran well on Wednesday night despite the rain. This allowed Guillaume to learn the car and for Karim to discover the track. Last night, it was a bit difficult because we had several small technical issues which cost us track time. I used a qualifying set of tyres but I was baulked on my best lap. I'm sorry that I couldn't show the potential of the car, which really deserved to be in the top five."
Karim Ajlani: "I drove well at the beginning of the session, but then made a small mistake which forced me to go back into the pits. I went out again during the night and really enjoyed myself. I now have some good reference points which will be very helpful for the race. I feel good, the car, tyres and engine are working well and all looks positive for Saturday and Sunday."
Guillaume Moreau: "We did a good job during practice on Wednesday, despite the terrible weather conditions! We went through a lot of things which allowed me to learn the car, which is fantastic to drive with lots of downforce. Yesterday, we were able to run in the dry and we continued to work on our race preparation programme."
Jacques Nicolet: "Our qualifying session was disrupted by several small technical issues during the first two hours. The team reacted well and my team-mates were able to run without any major problems between 10pm and midnight and improved their best times at the end of the session. I am satisfied with the two crews, both of which have their own qualities, and we will continue to work for the race with the objective of having at least one car on the podium."
Richard Hein: "Track conditions on Wednesday were extremely tricky so we were very cautious. For the qualifying session the objective was to allow Jacques to do his three laps during the night and to continue to give as many laps as possible to Jean-Francois, who is learning the car. I only did three laps but I had an amazing time. The new Pescarolo Sport aero is absolutely amazing. We have a fantastic team with Mazda and I cannot wait for the race to start."
Jean-Francois Yvon: "It's a real pleasure to race at Le Mans with OAK Racing. The team is very friendly and well organised and has a real family feeling about it. I don't think I have ever had the opportunity to drive such a high-performance car as the Pescarolo-Mazda in my whole career! I must continue to make progress, but it is a real pleasure to drive this LMP2 car at Le Mans. I'm just really happy."
Thierry Guillermot, General Manager of Mazda France, said: "OAK Racing is doing an excellent job ahead of the most important race of the season. We are continuing to improve the set-up, particularly on the electronic side, and our objective is to finish the race."
John Doonan, Mazda North America's Competitions Manager, added: "Thursday's session allowed us to put miles under our belts and gave the drivers the opportunity to sample a dry track. We are satisfied to have four Mazdas well positioned on the starting grid and delighted with the work undertaken by OAK Racing. Let's get racing on Saturday!"