After 24 hours of hard work, IDEC SPORT passed the chequered flag of the legendary endurance race in fifth place in the LMP2 rankings and in the top ten overall.
IDEC SPORT made it to the finish of the Le Mans 24-Hour Race for the second time in three editions (retired in 2018). Patrice Lafargue’s team got their best result in Le Mans finishing fifth in the LMP2 cars. Always up with the front runners, the team gave it their all in terms of managing the race and dealing with any problems they encountered.
The 24-Hour race started well for IDEC SPORT with the best time in the free trials and the fourth best in the qualifiers. The grid for the 24-Hour Race was determined in three 2-hour sessions. With the weather not being helpful on the first day, it was on Thursday that the 62 teams attempted to show what they could do. The times were reduced with Paul-Loup Chatin improving his and remaining in the second row on the LMP2 grid. The drivers, engineers and mechanics worked hard to come up with a car to suit the race and what the drivers needed.
On Saturday 15th June, 61 cars lined up as a Porsche had to stand down after an accident. Paul-Loup Chatin was the first to drive. At 3, the cars lined up in pairs behind the safety-car. HSH Charlène of Monaco waved the flag and the competitors hit the pedal to take off. They managed the first laps well, but the Oreca #48 dropped back a few places. IDEC SPORT was in the middle of the pack of LMP2 cars in the first few hours. A problem during refuelling cost them a few precious seconds at each pit-stop. The team had to deal with their fuel risking running dry to get the most out of the tyres. The drivers stepped up the pace and it paid off. The Oreca #48 remained in seventh place and then sixth as time went by. IDEC SPORT avoided all the mistakes.
Duqueine Engineering’s #30 was what Paul-Loup Chatin was aiming for at the end of the race. But it wasn’t going to happen although Paul-Loup Chatin took advantage of the problems experienced by a rival to overtake them without any resistance.
After 24 hours of racing, 37 pit-stops and more than 4950 km covered, the Oreca #48 IDEC SPORT passed the chequered flag in fifth place in the LMP2 category. The team even made it to the top ten overall.
The weekend in short
Patrice Lafargue, President of IDEC SPORT: “I am high on emotion as this is a great result both for the drivers and everyone in the team, as they worked hard to get that. It was not easy. There is a lot of joy, but also some sadness because we were aiming high. But that is what it is like out on the track and it requires even more preparation. This is after all the Le Mans 24-Hour Race. We have to remain humble. Fifth after the first part of the race that we had is something we managed to obtain.”
Nicolas Minassian, head of sport: “We have a really good solid team. We were united and even if it is frustrating … it was fun. We would always like to do better, but there are a lot of positive things. Le Mans is a team race and we are united like a family. The drivers astonished me but I’m not going to talk about one person in particular. That’s not a good idea, but they really satisfied me. We pushed all the say to the tank was almost dry and we didn’t make any mistakes in the pits. But the negative aspect, which is something positive, is that we only really lost time throughout the race at the fuel stops. . It is frustrating because everyone gave it their all and we lost 15 seconds every 38 minutes over the 24 hours.”
Paul Lafargue, IDEC SPORT driver: “I ran through every emotion this weekend. We did it. We had to go for it. The car was well set up. But there was an engine problem and then the problem with refuelling. In the end we made it to the top 5 in the LMP2 cars. We really had to go through the tyres.”
Memo Rojas, Mexican driver: “I think that fifth is satisfying, particularly in Le Mans where the main thing is to finish. Unfortunately we had problems in the pits. We clearly had the potential to make it to the podium. If you do the maths and taking ten seconds each stop, it comes to seven minutes. The team did a great job and what I will remember is that no one made any mistakes. We were fast and we knew we could do it.”
Paul-Loup Chatin: “The team did a great job. We went all the way and that is the main thing. We hoped to make it to the podium, and I think we have what it takes to do that. But it was all down to two or three details. This was a tricky 24-Hour Race. Getting fifth place is a good result. We will be even stronger next year. I will remember that we didn’t make any mistakes like last year.”