Vanina at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: Post qualifying impressions... At the end of the qualifying sessions, the Team Signature-Plus Lola-Aston Martin of Franck Mailleux, Pierre Ragues and Vanina Ickx finishes in 11th position. The Belgian driver ...
Vanina at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: Post qualifying impressions...
At the end of the qualifying sessions, the Team Signature-Plus Lola-Aston Martin of Franck Mailleux, Pierre Ragues and Vanina Ickx finishes in 11th position. The Belgian driver gives us her thoughts.
Vanina, what were your feelings when you made your first lap around Le Mans in the Lola-Aston Martin?
"Fantastic! Fantastic because of the power of the engine and the speeds reached. Actually, I immediately beat my personal lap record. This shows that I have a marvelous tool at my disposal. I can get even more out of it, but the first impressions were good. These first laps are very important: either it doesn't go well and it's terrifying, or it goes well and we can build from there. The latter was the case here."
The second day was marked by an intermittent rain. How do you deal with this situation?
"It's the worst kind of track that you can have...In these wet/dry conditions, the car is pretty uncomfortable. It's the perfect example of what I don't want to see during the race. It's difficult to manage. You can feel the track is drying faster and faster, and you want to go and attack a little more. But you can't as you have to be safe."
As a result how do you manage these types of sessions? You must find a rhythm without making a mistake......
"It's typical Le Mans. You're always keeping some in reserve because you know over driving could lead to something dramatic for the team. In practice, you have to keep in mind that we have nothing to prove. It's still pretty frustrating: you have to back off a bit, and it is usually in nice corners, like Porsche or Indianapolis."
What are your thoughts at the end of these qualifying sessions, before the race?
"We could always do better. That said, I think we are among those who covered the most laps. I've never been in such a position at Le Mans. In general, our Lola-Aston Martin is nice to drive. We are running a relatively low-aero package and maybe this will make the ends of our stints a bit more difficult. But in the long straights, our V12 will be able to stretch its legs!"
Finally, what are your thoughts on your team's 11th place qualifying performance?
"It's positive. Our engineer wanted the car to be in the 3:30 range and Franck had a good qualifying session going under this time. This puts us behind our two "sister" Lola-Aston Martins. It's pretty much what we were hoping for: only one other petrol-powered prototype is ahead of us. The most important is that the three of us be in the right rhythm for the race. Personally, it was very important for me before the start."
-source: vanina ickx