Thanks to their sixth place in the Portimao 4-Hour race, IDEC SPORT finishes the 2018 European Le Mans Series in third place overall. This result confirms the progress and seriousness of the whole of Patrice Lafargue’s team, who are pleased with what they have accomplished.
The drivers, engineers, mechanics and all those involved in the IDEC Spoert team managed to earn 64 points by the end of the six races in the 2018 ELMS calendar. This result allows the team from Ile de France to make it to third place in the overall rankings. As for the drivers, only Memo Rojas and Paul-Loup Chatin earned 64 points because Paul Lafargue was replaced by Gabriel Aubry for medical reasons for the last two races of the season.
The final meeting of the season took place on the Portimao circuit in Portugal. From the outset, the pace was set high. The track remained dry throughout the weekend. In the ten minute qualifier, Paul-Loup Chatin got a good result and was provisionally in pole position, but it wasn’t enough to obtain that in the end in the Algarve. The Oreca #28 was on the second line on the grid less than half a second off the reference time.
Memo Rojas was given the task of starting at 12.30 on Sunday. In spite of a good start, the Mexican was hit. The rear block on the Oreca #28 was damaged. Memo continued to drive, but the block had to be replaced at the first driver handover. IDEC SPORT fell right back in the rankings. Gabriel Aubry jumped into the seat and set off at an incredible pace. After his stint, the WEC driver from the JACKIE CHAN DC RACING team moved up a few spots.
When Paul-Loup Chatin took the wheel, he too moved the Oreca 28 car back up a few places and passed the chequered flag in sixth place. “It was a rather frustrating race, as we had the potential to win given our speed during the race. The main goal was to make it to the championship podium and we achieved that thanks to clawing our way back up. That’s the most important thing,” explained Paul-Loup Chatin. “I’d like to thank the whole team for the work they have done. The car was once again fantastic to drive. This third place rewards all the hard work done this season.”
The other team battling it out for second place in the championship finished fifth. IDEC Sport ends the season on 64 points (thanks to two places on the podium and two fourth places), with Racing Engineering ahead on 66 points. There was a consolation prize for IDEC SPORT as they got the best lap in the race with a time of 1:35.450.
“We were hoping to do better, but we got a good result in the end. This season was fantastic and magical. This was the first time we lined up with a leading car and really strong drivers. We confirmed that with three pole positions and the podium in the ELMS. We only just missed out on getting a really great place in the Le Mans 24-Hour race. These results are down to the whole team, which has been extraordinary. I’m proud of them,” declared Patrice Lafargue. “Even if we’re up there on a different level, we still keep the same spirit and go out there to enjoy ourselves. Maybe we don’t want to take it higher, if that means changing the way we look at the race. We’re lucky to get some good results while staying as we were. What’s good about finishing third is that means we have two more places to aim for next time. We’ll be giving ourselves the means to do that. We can see that if you have the passion, you can do some great things. We proved that in s sailing with Francis Joyon, holder of the crewed round the world record, and now we want to do the same thing in car racing,” concluded the driver/owner, confirming that the ELMS will be the priority in 2019, with a presence too in GT.