FRANCK MAILLEUX BOOSTED BY IMOLA PODIUM AND START TO 2013 SEASON
BUOYANT PIERRE RAGUES REFLECTS ON DEBUT PODIUM OF 2013
FRANCK MAILLEUX FIGHTS HIS WAY TO THRILLING THIRD IN IMOLA FOR DEBUT PODIUM WITH MORAND RACING
PIERRE RAGUES STORMS TO SENSATIONAL SECOND AT IMOLA TO CLAIM MAIDEN PODIUM FOR SIGNATECH-ALPINE
FRANCK MAILLEUX DISAPPOINTED WITH SIXTH ON GRID BUT HOPING TO JOIN PODIUM BATTLE
PIERRE RAGUES FINDS POSITIVES FROM SPA AND LOOKS AHEAD TO LE MANS
French race driver Pierre Ragues was pleased to get his World Endurance Season underway as he joined the renamed G-Drive by Signatech-Nissan at the recent 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in the #26 car.
Although the end result was not what Pierre or the team were expecting from their Oreca 03 LMP2 car, it was a useful weekend in terms of collecting experience and data in changeable weather conditions in preparation for the Le Mans 24 Hours next month.
The team has also carried out a one-day test with both of its LMP2 cars at the Magny-Cours circuit last week specifically to look at the cars ahead of the challenging Le Mans event in June.
Quick Q+A with Pierre Ragues
Pierre, how was it to get back to endurance racing at Spa?
“It was great to get back to racing at Spa, even if we didn’t achieve the optimum result in the race itself. It was good to get back into the thrill and excitement of a race weekend and to get more experience of the great Signatech-Nissan Oreca 03 car. Being Spa, we had to deal with the changing weather conditions, and this didn’t help us in the first part of the race, but I was pleased we could make the chequered flag for our first race under the G-Drive by Signatech-Nissan umbrella.”
What specifically were the issues at the beginning of the race?
“Based on the wet weather conditions on Sunday morning and in warm-up, we set up the car for the wet track that we had at the start. The track started to dry out quicker than we expected, though, so with our wet set-up, the tyre pressures were too high and we started to struggle. Once we pitted for slicks, we were on good pace and I was confident with the car. About two hours into the race, after a fuel stop, the rear left wheel came off my car as a result of a damaged hub, thankfully without any incidents, but we had to spend a lot of time in the garage with the mechanics carrying out important safety checks and repairs. From then on, we showed a strong pace and underlined our potential for future races.”
How was the team test at Magny-Cours?
“It was useful for us to have the opportunity to test so soon after Spa, to understand more about the car and to carry out an intensive review of the Spa weekend. The main focus of the Magny-Cours test was to look ahead to the next race at Le Mans, my personal highlight of the year. Both Signatech-Nissan cars took part so we gathered a lot of useful data in day and night-time conditions, an important element of any Le Mans preparation! We completed around 700km in the car and carried out a lot of useful tests. I am thankful to the G-Drive by Signatech-Nissan team for giving me the chance to contest the rest of the season with them and I look forward to sharing some good results together soon.”