After their brilliant qualifier when they obtained pole position on Thursday in the LMP2 category, the whole of the IDEC SPORT team has been busy working on the adjustments before the race. No cars were on the track on Friday, so the drivers could relax and the IDEC SPORT trio gave us their impressions before the big day.
The engines were quiet today with all the teams busy working on the mechanics, even if there were only the final adjustments to take care of. Fans were able to enjoy the excitement of the event with the pit walk to get close to the 60 cars signed up for the 86th edition of the Le Mans 24-Hour Race. Drivers too could rest so it was in a relaxed atmosphere that the IDEC SPORT crew, Paul Lafargue, Paul-Loup Chatin and Memo Rojas were able to give us their impressions and some of their secrets before setting off in pole position in LMP2.
”Getting pole position is a great surprise, even if we were expecting that after the first trials. We confirmed our potential and it’s been fantastic. Paul-Loup got a great time in the first session, even if he was hindered. After, with Memo we ensured the tyres lasted. We made the final adjustments, set up our driving position and made the final checks. I’ll only really understand what we have done when the car is on the grid. For a team launched in 2015, we’ve done well,” said Paul Lafargue, ready to face the legendary Le Mans race for the second time. “I’m calmer than the first time last year, because I know the car is ready for the race. But the stress will build when we are in the crowds just before the grid with the national anthem and French air force fly-past. It’s the magic of Le Mans.”
The 2017 Le Mans 24-Hour Race
“I can remember the sun going down last year. In some bends we couldn’t see anything. The visor is dark and we do what we can. Nicolas Minassian gave us some advice to deal with that special moment. Having taken part 17 times, he has a lot to teach us.”
In spite of his long list of successes, Memo Rojas enjoys the idea of setting out in front of all the P2s. “Getting pole position in Le Mans is incredible. It’s one of the finest moments of my career. I joined IDEC SPORT at the start of the season and I’m pleased to see that all the hard work has paid off. The hardest part is to come and we must not forget that the real job comes in the race,” added the Mexican.
“Preparing for Le Mans starts several weeks or months before the race. We have to get ready physically and mentally, as this is a special race. It’s a very demanding circuit and it is easy to make a mistake. One of the secrets in endurance racing is to remain hydrated and to get some rest during the breaks,” said Memo, whos is calm and focused.
“We really worked hard on the race and the car was well set up which allowed us to get pole position. 99% of the work still has to be done. In a 24-Hour Race, qualifying is less important. There is less risk of a collision. It’s a boost to the morale to have the best time, but on Sunday at 3, no one will remember who was in pole position, but who is on the podium,” declared Paul-Loup Chatin. “Today we got some rest. The trials lasted until midnight on Wednesday and Thursday. After the drivers’ parade, we will focus again on the race. We need to be in shape.”
“We have the impression that the car is ours, the drivers’, but behind us there are lots of people who work hard throughout the year, the engineers and mechanics without whom we would be nothing. We are one big family and the car belongs to all of us,” added Paul-Loup, who admits he feels some stress. “Even the top drivers feel the butterflies before the start of the biggest race in the world. But once we are in the car the butterflies vanish.”
Each of the drivers has his way of dealing with the race. Friday was the calm before the storm. The race begins on Saturday at 3 p.m.
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