The early morning brought mixed emotions to Team ORECA-Matmut-AIM with car no.11 placed in the Top 5 and car no.10 forced to retire. A new day had just dawned at Le Mans and Olivier Panis, Nicolas Lapierre and Soheil Ayari's ORECA 01 were...
The early morning brought mixed emotions to Team ORECA-Matmut-AIM with car no.11 placed in the Top 5 and car no.10 forced to retire.
A new day had just dawned at Le Mans and Olivier Panis, Nicolas Lapierre and Soheil Ayari's ORECA 01 were putting on a sterling performance on the Sarthois circuit. Figuring amongst the top ten at mid race, car no.11 is holding firm: running at a fast pace, but not taking any risks. Team ORECA-Matmut-AIM seems to be reaping the benefits of their pre- race strategy with their current 5th overall position, synonym of a 2nd place with the petrol engine prototypes. Olivier, Nicolas and Soheil continue to rally on, focusing on the checked flag and conserving their current position!
After having to make up for lost time after two racing incidents, car no.10 was forced to retire after an accident. Team ORECA-Matmut decided not to take a risk of continuing after careful examination of the car's rear suspension.
Race Notes :
From the begining car no.11 has carefully constructed their race and their efforts are starting to pay. Starting from 16th place, the ORECA 01 driven by Panis/Lapierre/Ayari has progressively risen up the ranks. Despite the accelerator pedal's ripped " rubber matting " during the second hour, nothing has been able to stop the ascension of no.11. The team has flawlessly been knocking off triple stints at a rapid pace for the last 18 hours. Their performance which demonstrated the carefully managed strategy has enabled them to run with the top 5. After a struggle for 7th place during the night, the car was in 5th place upon early morning. Thanks to Soheil and Olivier's exception stints, Nicolas was able to pass Pescarolo no.16 and Audi no.15 early into the 16th hour. His team-mates are driven by the same desire: preserve this position!
Nicolas Lapierre (ORECA 01, no.11): " I have really enjoyed my stints since the start of the race. I had to battle it out with a Pescarolo and an Audi, I was faster, but had trouble getting past them and I had to take some risks in order to take profit from my advantage: it was too important for me to get past and put some distance between us. You always need to be careful but our strategy is now becoming more and more aggressive. There are only 7 hours remaining and we have some cars close behind us. We need to quicken the pace and our car will allow for it. During my stints the car was really well balanced, I found it even better than on my first run ! "
Car 10 will miss out on this glory. After a good start, which saw them in 9th place in the second hour, the car suffered it`s first racing incident at Tertre Rouge, resulting in a complete replacement of the car's rear end. Bruno Senna, Tiago Monteiro and Stephane Ortelli started to make up for lost position and flew from 23rd to 12th ! Unfortunately just after midnight the car had another shunt, in the " nouvelle portion ", and they dropped to 21st place. The three men were racing against the clock and fought their way back to 14th place due to their exception triple triple-stints. Sadly their adventure came to a end during 16th hour when the rear suspension was damaged following an accident with a GT2 at the first corner of Hunaudières.