RAGUES PREPARES FOR LE MANS -- IN THE WET Frenchman Pierre Ragues has completed his final preparations for the 76th Le Mans 24 Hours at the traditional test day on Sunday at the La Sarthe circuit, two weeks prior to the endurance classic. The...
RAGUES PREPARES FOR LE MANS -- IN THE WET
Frenchman Pierre Ragues has completed his final preparations for the 76th Le Mans 24 Hours at the traditional test day on Sunday at the La Sarthe circuit, two weeks prior to the endurance classic.
The 24 year-old is driving a Pescarolo in the LMP2 class for Saulnier Racing, sharing with Matthieu Lahaye and Chinese driver Franky Cheng.
However, the trio's running was cut short because of changeable weather, which meant that the 14-kilometre circuit was both wet and dry in places. The varying levels of grip meant that the track was extremely treacherous, and it was also quite hard to judge the true pace of the new Pescarolo-Judd package relative to the opposition.
Pierre has competed at Le Mans once before in 2006, making him the most experienced driver in the car. He did not venture out onto the circuit before midday in order to allow his team mates the time in the car that they needed to pre-qualify.
He could only complete four laps on a drying track with wet tyres before the red flags came out once more, but this brief experience was enough for him to re-acquaint himself with the legendary circuit.
Pierre got in another couple of dry laps in the afternoon, setting a couple of extremely promising times despite encountering some traffic. He then got out of the car in order to give his team mates some dry running: a timely decision as the track was soon waterlogged again. Faced with dangerous conditions that caught out even some of the top runners, the the Saulnier team wisely decided not to take any risks and sit out the rest of the session -- with Le Mans qualifying in just 10 days time.
"It's always good to have time in the car, but we obviously didn't do so many laps because of the weather," said Pierre, who is also competing in the Le Mans series with the Saulnier Racing team this year. "Nonetheless, I could draw some positive conclusions: the car feels very well-balanced even in a wide variety of weather conditions and I think we can be competitive. After a year away, it was important for me to re-familiarise myself with the track, and I succeeded in that mission as well."
This year's Le Mans 24 Hours will start at 3pm on Saturday 14 June, with qualifying for the race taking place on Wednesday and Thursday next week.
-credit: pierre ragues