IDEC SPORT leaves Le Castellet with a pleasing fifth place. While the pole position obtained by Paul-Loup Chatin meant they had hoped for better, technical problems upset the chances of the team aboard No. 28 of making it to the podium. The Ligier #27 did not complete the race.
The prologue marking the start of the season went well and IDEC SPORT pulled off a major coup in this first meeting of the 2018 ELMS: Paul-Loup Chatin grabbed pole position in the ten-minute qualifier thanks to a lap completed in 1’41’’194. This was a first for IDEC SPORT. This gave them a lot of hope for the race itself. The team’s racing director, Nicolas Minassian, was extremely pleased: “This is the first time we have taken part with two cars in such a competition. This is a first for the whole team, which has been strengthened and built up. This result rewards them after a very busy week. I’m proud of the team. We have what it takes to perform well – the passion, the desire and we enjoy ourselves,” explained the former Peugeot WEC driver, analysing the weekend of racing. “The Oreca was very competitive and reliable. The three drivers go well together. In the Ligier, we wanted a car that would run well. It’s not easy managing the two cars. They are not at all the same, even if performance comes first for us with both of course.”
The goal on the Paul Ricard circuit was to lay down the foundations and learn the reflexes required by an endurance racing team. To score points, the cars need to be set up to run smoothly and perform well. The race did not go as planned for Patrice Lafargue, William Cavailhes and Erik Maris on #27. Two incidents during the race forced the Ligier to retire to the stands. “Following two collisions by William in the Ligier, we together took the decision to stop the car. We want to make sure the car can be relied on in the future. That’s what racing is all about. I remain positive however. The bronze team showed us some great stuff,” stressed Nicolas Minassian.
“We’re going to get a taste for this”
“In the Oreca, we were competitive and well organised. The team works well. We got pole position for the first time in the history of IDEC SPORT in the ELMS, our times weren’t far off the best race times, but a technical problem at the start of the race upset things in terms of performance. This technical problem meant we couldn’t keep up with the pace set by the leaders. We asked Memo (Rojas) to slow down. It’s hard for a pro driver to be given this sort of instruction. He listened to us and did what we suggested. We solved the problem when Paul (Lafargue) got into the car. He was almost as fast as the pros. He really surprised us this weekend. He has really made a lot of progress. He understands what is going on and is now part of an international team with the arrival of Memo.”
The Oreca #28 passed the chequered flag in 7th place (fifth in the ELMS rankings, as there were two WEC that did not score).
“We’re going to get a taste for this,” warned Nicolas Minassian. “Everyone at IDEC SPORT can be proud. We must not forget anyone, as it is the whole team that is involved in this success, from the driver to the mechanics and not forgetting the physio.”
There is no rest for the wicked! IDEC SPORT is looking forward now to the 12-Hour Navarre Race (Spain) in the 24H Series. The team will be heading off with the Mercedes AMG GT3 and la Porsche 991 Cup. “We rebuilt the Mercedes after the incident at Silverstone and she’s going well. What we learnt will be useful in Navarre, added Nicolas Minassian.
Don’t miss IDEC SPORT next race on our social networks: via Facebook: IDEC SPORT Racing, Twitter: @IDECSportRacing and Instagram: idecsport_racing_officiel18.