It all gets underway today in Le Mans. The IDEC SPORT Oreca #48 will be competing in the free trials (from 4 to 8 p.m.) then in the first qualifier from 10 to midnight. Paul Lafargue, Paul-Loup Chatin and Memo Rojas give us their impressions.
Since yesterday, it has been dull and overcast in Le Mans and the tarmac is wet. The latest forecasts say there will be showers during this first day of driving. The three IDEC SPORT drivers walked around the track yesterday to get to know it and find the best trajectory for the rain, even though none is expected for the race itself.
Paul Lafargue: “We looked at the track from the Porsche bend to Tertre Rouge, to decide the best way to go. Seeing that some of the track has been re-laid, there may be more rubber there and it can become slippery. There are a few little details to take into account. We’ll see whether we need to change our trajectory or not. In some bends, you can’t go beyond the trajectory as you will get punished immediately. I have never driven in the rain here, and I would prefer it to be dry. I think our car is reassuring. We need to be ready for the qualifiers and grab any opportunities.”
Paul-Loup Chatin: “We drove here a week or so ago and remember everything about the track. Today, we’ll be trying to clock up the miles and if the track dries, we’ll try to grab any opportunities. The forecasts aren’t looking that good for the next few days, but we’ll be able to see the result of all the hard work done since the test day. All of the teams want to do their best in the qualifier, but that is not the main goal. If we manage to be up there fighting for it, we’ll give it our all, but we must not focus uniquely on that. With the rain, it will be more down to chance during the race. We have less time to run through all the different set-ups. But we have a lot of experience and we just need to make a few adjustments now.”
Memo Rojas: “I have already driven once in the rain at Le Mans, but just for a few laps. It’s very different when the track is soaking wet and even more so when it’s dark. But I have found the pace and so I’m not too worried. The set-up is very different, but what we discover in the rain isn’t going to be very useful, if it is dry for the race itself. I remain confident and I think we’re very competitive, even if we still have progress to make. I would like it to dry up a bit to se what we have really learnt. In any case, I feel good and I’m ready.”