IDEC SPORT is heading to Portugal to compete in the Portimão 24-Hour Race on 6th and 7th July. Patrice Lafargue, Paul Lafargue and Dimitri Enjalbert will share the wheel of the Mecedes AMG GT3 with Nicolas Minassian for the fifth meeting of the 2019 24-Hour Series.
After the LMP2, it’s time for the IDEC SPORT Mercedes AMG GT3 #17 to compete in a 24-hour competition. This time there will not be three, but four drivers, as Nicolas Minassian,the former Peugeot driver in the world endurance championship, is joining Dimitri Enjalbert, Paul Lafargue and Patrice Lafargue for the Portimão 24-Hour Race. The IDEC SPORT drivers will above all have to cope with the weather conditions: “When I hear Portimão, I already feel hot! With the recent heatwave in France, just imagine what it is like in Portugal… We’ll really suffer in the heat. I think that will be the key element in this race. You have to deal with eating, drinking and making sure you don’t get dehydrated to be in the best of shape out there. We only have a small air conditioning system in the car and “it will be between 50° and 60°C inside the car,” said Dimitri Enjalbert.
The South of Portugal will indeed be a real challenge for the drivers, who will drive around the 4.692 km track. “I like this circuit, as there are ups and downs and you need to have some aerodynamic support. I love the final bend, which you have to take while flying around and trying to keep the car on the track as it edges towards the outside.”
While the men are going to suffer, that is also the case for the mechanics. But this does not worry Dimitri, who is not changing the way he tackles the race. “In the last few races, we had a few problems ensuring the reliability of the car, but we must not dwell too much on that. We have to keep pushing, which is what we usually do. We always remain cautious and not drive for too long on the rumble strip, look after the tyres and brakes. For the tyres, we’ll only know what we need once out there, in terms of the temperature and abrasiveness of the track. In any case, we change them on each handover. This year, we have seen lots of cars see their tyres explode, so we will pay attention to that,” explained Dimitri, who is very happy to drive alongside Nicolas Minassian: “Nicolas Minassian will be there with us, which is fantastic. He’s a very strong driver with a lot of experience of endurance racing and on top of that, he will allow us to remain fresh and recover more at each handover.”
In spite of his experience and racing in the most fabulous cars, Nicolas Minassian never has enough of the race tracks. Quite the reverse: “I’m really pleased! When Patrice invited me, I imagined myself out there with the helmet on. Initially, it wasn’t official, but they confirmed my place in Le Mans. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the Mercedes and enjoy myself with a super team, with whom I love working,” declared Nicolas, who has taken part seventeen times in the Le Mans 24-Hour Race. “I think we should get a good result. This is a 24-Hour race and we all know what that means. The team knows the score. The mechanics have prepared the car well. It’s down to us to have a good race.”
On Friday, the 28 competitors will be able to drive for two hours to discover the track and carry out the final adjustments before the 45-minute qualifier. They will then have ninety minutes of trials during the night before starting the race at noon on Saturday 6th July.