While IDEC SPORT was performing well, a tire problem disrupted the end of the LMP2 race in the European Le Mans Series, just as the crew of Paul Lafargue, Paul-Loup Chatin and Laurents Hörr were heading for victory. Nicolas Minassian and Paul-Loup Chatin take a look back at the second round of the European championship.
IDEC SPORT was on home turf for the second round of the European Le Mans Series at the 4 Hours of Le Castellet. While the team based in Signes, on the outskirts of the Paul Ricard circuit, has been performing well since the start of the year, with a podium finish at the 4h of Barcelona and pole position at the 24H of Le Mans, it needed to confirm this good form at the French round. The #28 IDEC SPORT LMP2, sporting the blue of French carmaker Delage, was up front from the outset, and Paul-Loup Chatin confirmed this with a front-row finish in qualifying. The whole team proved its solidity throughout the event, from the drivers on the track to the mechanics in the pits. IDEC SPORT took the lead and pulled away from the chasing pack, until a problem with the left front forced the #28 to pit once too often, with just 20 minutes to go. The trio of Paul Lafargue, Laurents Hörr and Paul-Loup Chatin took fifth place in LMP2. An inevitably disappointing result which does not reward the team’s efforts.
If a parallel could be drawn with the 24H du Mans and the puncture with 2 hours to go, Nicolas Minassian, team principal, differentiates the two events:
“It was a mixed weekend in terms of the final result. The performance was there. We worked hard, but we know that Paul Ricard is hard on the left front because of the speed and support in the right-hand corners. At the end of the race, we decided not to change the left front in Paul-Loup’s final stint. Those who won made the same choice, but it didn’t work for us. We would surely have won or finished on the podium. In the tests, we held the tires over two stints, so it’s a decision I can live with. With a few “ifs”, we could have done the race again…
What we can say is that in terms of performance, we did a very good job. Paul was consistent and fast. Laurents took the car to the front and Paul-Loup did his job at the wheel with some great battles on the track to take first place. It’s a shame, I’m disappointed for the team. We deserved a good result. It’s in defeat that you get stronger.“
© Paola DEPALMAS
The day after the race, the pill is still hard to swallow for Paul-Loup Chatin, who led some great battles in the race and was flying away alone in the lead:
“The race was almost won. I had just kept a margin in case we had to fight at the end of the race. It’s very frustrating. It’s a mechanical sport with mechanical parameters that come into play, but with Le Mans it’s a lot. It’s almost more frustrating than Le Mans. We had a great week, with second place in qualifying, which is a very good result. The race was very good too. Paul battled with the pro drivers and managed. Laurents did a great job to get back up. It was the ideal pattern. I just had to finish. We’d have got off to a good start this summer with this result, to reward everyone’s hard work. Right now, there’s a lot of frustration, but we’re going to look ahead. We know we’re playing sport, and if we can’t accept that, we’ll do something else.”