Category Archives: Season 2017

DS Virgin Racing round off successfull season opener with Sam Bird Championship leader

03Press Release – Hong Kong, 03 December 2017

  • Double points finish for British driver pairing Sam Bird & Alex Lynn during second Hong Kong E-Prix

DS Virgin Racing rounded off a successful opening weekend in the new Formula E season with a double points finish during today’s (December 3) second race in Hong Kong, with team driver Sam Bird now leading the championship standings.

Following yesterday’s victory by Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing picked up two more top 10 finishes at the Harbourfront circuit with Bird finishing fifth and team-mate Alex Lynn securing his second consecutive points finish with ninth.

Sunday’s race began unconventionally when a failure to the start lights meant the 45-lap race had to be started behind the safety car. The opening laps saw Lynn, beginning from fifth after his strong qualifying performance, hold his ground heading into the pit stop window, whilst team-mate Bird, starting P13, had already gained ground to be inside the points.

Lynn managed his energy well in the early stint and was able to run an extra lap longer as the majority of the field, including Bird, pitted at the halfway mark. Both drivers continued to push with Lynn chasing Mitch Evans for fourth spot and Bird, now in seventh, chasing Jean-Eric Vergne. With overtaking difficult though, neither driver was able to gain places with Lynn also running low on useable energy, forcing him to ease off in the closing stages and lose out on a couple of positions.

A post-race investigation later excluded race-winner Daniel Abt promoting both drivers one place and leaving Bird leading the drivers’ standings with Lynn in ninth and DS Virgin Racing in second in the teams’ standings, just three points adrift from the top.

Summing up his weekend, Sam Bird said: “It’s been a very encouraging weekend for DS Virgin Racing and myself. It’s been a great couple of rounds for the team. Thank you to everyone for working so hard over the summer break and we’re looking forward to going into round three focused and ready to battle for more podiums.”

Alex Lynn said: “We’ve come away in a strong position and a lot of respect has to go to the team for their hard work behind the scenes. Sam and I performed well this weekend and congratulations to him for the win. We had a good recovery drive yesterday and today we qualified fifth so was disappointing not to finish there, but we move on and look to build on this for Marrakesh.”

Team Principal Alex Tai commented: “To be in this position after the opening rounds is fantastic. The results demonstrate the strength and ability of our drivers, the car and the whole of the DS Virgin Racing team, and we head into the New Year in a very strong position.”

DS Performance Director Xavier Mestelan Pinon added: “It’s great to end the weekend with Sam leading the driver standings and it confirms the pace and the reliability of the DSV-03 Formula E car. Well done to the team for this amazing achievement. It is a good omen for the future, and we’re looking forward to racing in Marrakesh.”

Round 3 of the 2017/2018 FIA Formula E Championship takes place in Marrakesh on January 13 2018. For more information on DS Virgin Racing visit: www.ds-virginracing.com.

DS Virgin Racing unveils Formula E season four challenger

Press release – Versailles, 22nd november 2017

  • Team’s most iconic moments celebrated in new launch film
  • Unveil coincides with anniversary of team’s maiden victory
  • First E-Prix of 2017/2018 season to take place in Hong Kong on December 2 & 3

DS Virgin Racing has today launched its season four Formula E car – the DSV-03 – ahead of the opening rounds in Hong Kong, and coinciding with the anniversary of the team’s maiden victory.

The fully-electric single-seater features an enhanced livery in the team’s now familiar purple, red and silver colour scheme, with subtle tweaks throughout. Under the cover, the experts at DS Performance have worked on further optimising the performance and efficiency of the car, including a new upgraded software system.

In the cockpit sees the first ever all-British driver pairing of Sam Bird and Alex Lynn. Bird, 30, has competed in all 33 of the team’s race starts, securing five wins and nine podiums along the way to make him the third highest Formula E points scorer to date. Meanwhile, Lynn, 24, will embark on his first full-time campaign following his impressive debut last season in which he secured pole position at his first attempt; becoming one of only two drivers to have ever done so.

Today’s unveil also marks three years to the day since the team’s first ever win during the Putrajaya E-Prix in 2014 with Sam Bird at the wheel. This provided the inspiration behind the team’s new launch film, which celebrates the outfit’s heritage, successes and most iconic moments – both on and off the track – including the incredible double victory during last season’s inaugural New York E-Prix.

The 2017/2018 FIA Formula E Championship begins in Hong Kong on December 2 and 3 with a double-header set around the Central Harbourfront and overlooking the city’s skyscraper backdrop. The 10-turn route extends 1.86km along Lung Wo Road, Man Yiu Street and Yiu Sing Street, and marks the second consecutive year for the city to host the event. The circuit remains largely unchanged from last season aside from a revised chicane at Turns 3 & 4, with the drivers reaching speeds of up to 200kph at the quickest point. New for this year will be two races of varying distances (43 and 45 laps) to add an extra element to the racing strategy.

DS Virgin Racing also continues with its strong partner line-up into season four with DS Automobiles, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Kaspersky and Total.

DS Virgin Racing Team Principal Alex Tai said: “As one of only three teams to have won in every season, for sure, our aim is to continue our winning ways into season four. We have two very strong drivers in Sam and Alex, a quick car and a fantastic, experienced team, so we have all the elements needed to make a real impact in Hong Kong and beyond.”

Driver Sam Bird said: “It’s always difficult to predict what will happen ahead of a new season but for sure we’ve got a good package and we’re ready to come out fighting. We had a series of very strong results towards the end of last season, which gave us a solid platform to develop on over the summer so hopefully this can translate into strong results.”

Team-mate Alex Lynn said: “I’m very excited heading into my first full Formula E season. It’s an amazing opportunity and one I can’t wait to grasp and showcase what I can do. Preparations have gone really well, from testing and simulator work through to fitness. With DS Virgin Racing, I know I have a great team behind me and a very experienced team-mate alongside me, so I can’t wait to go racing.”

DS Performance Director Xavier Mestelan Pinon added: “It’s great to start the season in such an iconic city as Hong Kong, and we’re looking forward to seeing the DSV-03 back on track. We achieved very positive pre-season testing results and this year, we will be able to start the season on the front foot, which is crucial when aiming for the win.”

WorldRX runner-up honours for Team Peugeot Hansen*!

Team Peugeot Hansen collected its tenth podium finish of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship at the last round in South Africa to become the year’s Teams’ vice-champions*.

  • The last round of the 2017 World Rallycross Championship, which took teams to Africa for the very first time, saw the PEUGEOT 208 WRX deliver a competitive performance from start to finish, including a memorable lightning start in Q4. Timmy Hansen hit the ground running to win Q1, Q4 and his semi-final, but he missed out on the weekend’s victory by just tenths of a second despite losing time in the bustle through Turn 1. The young Swede recovered to collect a tenth podium finish for the PEUGEOT 208 WRX from 12 starts this year, while Team Peugeot Hansen put the seal on second place in the year’s Teams’ standings. Timmy himself placed fifth in the 2017 Drivers’ championship.
  • It turned out to be a frustrating weekend for Sébastien Loeb, however. After being pushed out of contention in Q1, he picked up a puncture on the opening lap of Q2 and was consequently unable to show his true potential in qualifying. That said, his hopes of recovering ground in his semi-final got off to a promising start when he emerged from Turn 2 in second spot. Unfortunately, another puncture prevented him from reaching the final, but he can still look back at a season which saw him bag seven top-three finishes and fourth place in the 2017 Drivers’ points table.
  • Kevin Hansen produced another strong run in his PEUGEOT 208 WRX 2016, including third-place finishes in Q2 and Q4. His start from the outside lane in his last qualifying session is likely to be remembered for some time to come. A penalty for Ken Block earned him a place in the final for the second round in a row and his excellent weekend enabled him to gain a place in the Drivers’ standings to conclude the year in eighth spot, just ahead of Block!

Quote, unquote…

Kenneth Hansen (Team Principal):
“We were competitive from the outset and Timmy won both Q1 and Q4. We had our sights firmly set on victory at this stage and all three of our cars reached the semi-finals which turned out to be something of a battlefield. Neither Sébastien nor Kevin managed to show their true speed in the opening lap, but Timmy went on to win the race and Kevin’s result earned him a slot in the final, too. Our hopes of winning were still very much intact but Timmy was pushed during the opening corners and missed out on being first past the flag by less than a second! That’s so frustrating. All the same, we are very pleased to have come second in the 2017 Teams’ standings. All year long, we gave it the best shot our resources allowed.”

Timmy Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #21), 2nd:
“I think South Africa was one of our best performances this season. We were really competitive and I came first in Q1 and Q4. It’s the first time this season that I won two qualifying heats. My semi-final was very close and I was pushed quite hard through the first turn. I found myself facing the wrong direction going into Turn 2, nose to nose with Sébastien. Even so, I managed to win my semi-final. The first lap of the final itself was pretty virile, too. I fell back a few places so I did my joker lap very quickly. After that, I did everything I could to claw back ground and I missed out on the win by just a few tenths of a second. It would have been so nice to have won today. The PEUGEOT 208 WRX is the best car I have ever driven and to have finished the season without winning a final is so frustrating. Nevertheless, I am pleased with my season and I think I have become a more consistent driver.”

Sébastien Loeb (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #9):
“From my point of view, the last round of the season was a big disappointment, especially as my car was really competitive! Things didn’t go my way in qualifying: I got baulked in Q1 and I punctured on Lap 1 in Q2. I fared better in Q3 and Q4, and then my semi-final got off to a good start because I was sitting in second place behind Timmy before I picked up another puncture during a bit of jostling. After that, I was no longer able to fight for a top result. It was a frustrating way to end what was something of a frustrating year. Roll on next season!”

Kevin Hansen (PEUGEOT 208 WRX #71), 6th:
“I was quite pleased with my results in qualifying, even though I could perhaps have done even better in Q1 and Q3. I got away to a tremendous start in Q4 which enabled me to win my race and end up third in that heat’s standings. Unfortunately, I don’t really understand what happened in my semi-final. The first few turns were absolute mayhem. All I know is that I was up to third at one point and that I was back down in sixth place just a few turns later. After that, I had a transmission problem but I managed to reach the final when Block took a penalty. My mechanics did a good job to get my car ready in time and it was great to be able to take part in the final for the second time in a row. Even though my transmission failed, I was very pleased with the potential I showed at the season’s last round.”

* Subject to confirmation of the official results by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile).

MotoGP World Championship – Valencia Grand Prix

A last podium for Morbidelli

For a long time leader of the pack, Franco Morbidelli concluded his last race in Moto2 by making it to the second step of the podium for the Valencia Grand Prix. The Italian will have left his mark on the 2017 season.

The Races

Assured of the title of world champion since the Malaysian Grand Prix, Franco Morbidelli was determined to conclude his career in Moto2 with a last stroke of brilliance. Leader of the pack up to six laps from the finish, the Italian unfortunately had to give up the first place to Miguel Oliveira: “I did everything I could to resist him, but today he was the fastest. I am still very happy to have finished my last season in Moto2 on the podium.” Fighting it out with his teammate lap after lap after starting from pole position, Alex Marquez lost ground at the end of the race because of a lack of grip. He finally ranked fifth. In MotoGP, Jack Miller and Tito Rabat both managed to make the top ten. The Australian finished seventh after a long fight with Valentino Rossi, the Spaniard taking the checkered flag in tenth position after a great comeback. No miracle occurred in the Moto3 standings, Kornfeil finishing the season in eighteenth place while Pulkkinen ranked twenty-ninth.

The Championship

World champion since the race at Sepang, Morbidelli ended the Moto2 season after chalking up 308 points. Marquez finished in fourth place, 107 lengths behind his teammate. In MotoGP, Miller was eleventh with 82 points while Rabat finished nineteenth with 35 points. In Moto3, this year only Kornfeil managed to score points with his Peugeot. The Czech rider finished the championship in twenty-second position with 26 points.

The Background

The last race of the year, the Valencia Grand Prix was the culmination of a magnificent and prolific season for the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS. In Moto2, Franco Morbidelli offered the Belgian team its second world champion title after Tito Rabat won it in 2014. Leader from the first event in Qatar, winner of eight Grand Prix, the Italian made it twelve times to the podium. Alex Marquez scored three wins and took three pole positions. No doubt the Spaniard will be next year one of the main candidates for the Moto2 World Championship title. In MotoGP, Jack Miller and Tito Rabat were respectively eleventh and nineteenth in their last world championship for the Marc VDS brand. Their places will be filled next year by Franco Morbidelli and Thomas Lüthi.

Another second place for Signatech Alpine Matmut, who remain in contention for the world title!

  • Runner-up at the 6 Hours of Shanghai, the no.36 Signatech Alpine Matmut crew recorded a fifth consecutive LMP2 podium in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
  • The result of the Lapierre/Negrão/Menezes crew was obtained thanks to a strategy focused on efficiency, paired with fuel and tyre management.
  • Alpine therefore heads for the season-ending finale in Bahrain on 18 November with its hopes still alive of retaining the LMP2 world title.

The cars lined up on the starting grid in grey, overcast conditions at the Shanghai International Circuit. The no.36 Alpine A470 began in fifth place in the LMP2 class following a frustrating time in qualifying, during which André Negrão had been held up on his fastest lap.

The opening corners of the race were eventful, with Nico Müller (no.26 car) spinning in the middle of the field. Nicolas Lapierre took advantage of the incident to race clear and end the opening lap in second position in the LMP2 category, just behind Bruno Senna (no.31 car).

Quickly adopting a pace aimed at preserving the car’s fuel and tyres, Nico remained second throughout his first two stints. He then handed over to André Negrão, who managed to withstand the pressure he was put under by his rivals whilst also keeping clear of the many clashes throughout the field.

Shortly before the race’s halfway point, the Brazilian handed over driving duties to Gustavo Menezes, who also completed two stints. Like his team-mates, the Californian adopted the strategy defined by the team: he stayed as close as possible to the leader, whilst managing fuel consumption and looking after the tyres.

With an hour and a half of the race left to go, Nicolas Lapierre got back in the car for the final two stints. At that point, the competitors showed their hands and the various race strategies became fully apparent.

Like the no.31 car, which went on to win the race, the no.36 Alpine A470 only made seven pit stops in six hours, compared with eight for the no.13 and 38 cars, the other leading contenders who were ultimately relegated to third and fourth positions.

Thanks to its haul of 18 points, Signatech Alpine Matmut consolidates its third place in the LMP2 Teams championship standings. Trailing the top two by 23 and 19 points respectively, the French squad remains in the title race. The ninth and final round of the season will be held on 18 November at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Quote, unquote

Bernard Ollivier, Alpine Deputy Managing Director
“It’s a very good second place, one we had to work very hard to get. The team showed great skill and dedication. The drivers did a great job in looking after the tyres and managing fuel consumption for six hours, enabling us to make one fewer pit stop over the course of the race. I imagine it may have been frustrating to drive like this, but ultimately the strategy paid off. Each member of the Signatech Alpine Matmut team played their role to perfection, and they can all be proud this evening. We’ll head to Bahrain believing in our chances. As always, we’ll give absolutely everything to finish the season in style.”

Philippe Sinault, Signatech Alpine Matmut Team Principal
“We achieved our target for the weekend, which was to take the title race to Bahrain. After a tricky time in free practice, we had made good progress and our fifth place in qualifying didn’t reflect our true performance level. In the race, we knew that we would struggle to match the pace of the no.31 car, which was a class above the rest of the field. However, our perfect race allowed us to claim second place in normal racing conditions. We couldn’t have done any more as regards optimising our strategy. The low fuel alert was lighting up on every lap before the pit stops! In order to achieve this result, we also needed the drivers and the mechanics to produce a flawless performance and that’s exactly what we all managed to do. We are therefore still in the title race. It will be difficult, because we now have to rely upon factors outside of our control in the final round. But we’ll do all we can to bring about a successful outcome!”

Signatech Alpine Matmut no.36

Nicolas Lapierre
“We produced a solid race to hold onto second place. Apart from the no.31 car, which was quicker, I think we had the best performance in the race after progressing throughout the weekend. As it’s always difficult to overtake on this track, I took a few risks at the start and that’s what enabled me to move up into second place. From then on, we had a perfect race: the mechanics and both my team-mates did a very good job. Finishing as runners-up is the best result we could have hoped for and it leaves us with a small chance of winning the championship. “

MENEZES Gustavo

Gustavo Menezes
“I’d say that the result is better than we might have hoped for at the start of the weekend. Nico made very good start, then André managed to keep up a very good rhythm until he handed over to me. I managed to close a little bit on the leaders during my first stint, before then easing off again due to our strategy. As we had only changed the rear tyres, I had to deal with some understeer. In the end, second place is the result that we deserved. In Bahrain, our sights will be set purely on winning.”

 
 

NEGRAO Andre

André Negrão
“When I was driving, I was above all very focused on managing the tyres and preserving fuel. The car tended to oversteer a little and so I had to avoid overheating the rear tyres, in particular, in order to save a lap per stint. It was only towards the end of my second stint that I was able to push to try and reduce the gap. I made up close to thirty seconds on the no.31 and I think I did a good job at this point in the race. It was nice to be able to fight like that, we really had a good strategy.”

MotoGP World Championship – Malaysian Grand Prix (Sepang), October 2017

Morbidelli World Champion

After riding a remarkable season, in Malaysia Franco Morbidelli won the title as Moto2 world champion. The Italian will make his debut next year in the MotoGP category.

The Races

Free of any pressure even before the start after Lüthi had withdrawn, Morbidelli approached the Malaysian Grand Prix with every intent to clinch his ninth victory. But as in Australia, the two KTMs of Oliveira and Binder prevented him from doing so.

I wanted to make it to the podium;  I knew this morning that Tom had withdrawn, and I’m sorry for him, but I couldn’t believe I was world champion before finishing this race. In the last laps I hesitated about trying to catch up with Binder, but the rain held me back. Finishing third was enough to get onto the podium and celebrate winning the title.

Franco Morbidelli

Victim of two falls early in the race, Alex Marquez threw in the towel after the first lap. In MotoGP, Jack Miller chalked up his second top ten in a row by placing eighth, between the two official Yamaha bikes ridden by Rossi and Viñales.

It was a good weekend for me because I rode well whether the track was dry or wet.

Jack Miller

said the Australian who is still suffering from his right leg which he recently fractured. The race having taken place in the rain, Rabat was still struggling to find his feet with his Honda RC213V. The Spaniard finished eighteenth. In Moto3, Kornfeil and Pulkkinen ranked twenty-first and twenty-third.

The Championship

Winning the world championship title in Malaysia, Morbidelli now has 288 points, 45 more than Tom Lüthi in the Moto2 standings. With his Did Not Finish at Sepang, Alex Marquez lost his third place in the championship to Oliveira, winner of the last two races. Now with 45 points, in MotoGP Miller consolidated his twelfth place, while Rabat remains in twentieth position. Abraham did not score any points in Malaysia, so the Spaniard is one point behind the Czech. In Moto3, Kornfeil has lost one place and is back in twenty-second position.

The Background

At the age of 22, Franco Morbidelli won his first World Championship title in the Moto2 class on the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. Only Thomas Lüthi could still have prevented him from doing so. But after being injured during the practice test sessions, the Swiss had to give up the race. So even before the start of the penultimate race of the season, the Marc VDS rider had won the title, rewarding a faultless season. Leader from start to finish with eleven podiums including eight victories, Morbidelli was head and shoulders above the pack in the 2017 championship.

When your childhood dream comes true, there are no words to describe how you feel ; I can never thank my parents enough for all the sacrifices they made for me.

Franco Morbidelli

Born in Rome to a modest family, Morbidelli did not arrive in Grand Prix racing the usual way.

We did not have enough money for me to race in the Spanish championship after I started in Minimoto; So I raced the 600 Superstock European Championship. I won it and was given a chance to try a Moto2.

Four years later, Morbidelli has become world champion.

 

La « Dream Team Peugeot Total » est prête pour le Dakar 2018 !

De retour d’une septième et ultime séance d’essais au Maroc, le Team PEUGEOT Total – qui a trusté les trois premières places du podium du Dakar 2017 – est désormais prêt pour la prochaine édition du rallye-raid le plus éprouvant au monde, qui se déroulera en Amérique du Sud du 6 au 20 janvier 2018. Stéphane PETERHANSEL/Jean Paul COTTRET, Sébastien LOEB/Daniel ELENA, Carlos SAINZ/Lucas CRUZ et Cyril DESPRES/David CASTERA s’aligneront au départ du Dakar 2018 au volant de la toute nouvelle lionne de course : la PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi.

En janvier prochain, les 4 équipages de la ‘Dream Team’ PEUGEOT aborderont un périple d’environ 10 000 kilomètres à travers le Pérou, la Bolivie et l’Argentine. Au programme : 15 étapes, des terrains variés composés de dunes, cols andéens hauts-perchés et paysages désertiques, et des conditions météorologiques extrêmes. Le parcours officiel du Dakar 2018 sera révélé par l’organisateur le 22 novembre prochain.

Si la composition du Team PEUGEOT Total reste inchangée pour le Dakar 2018, la voiture de course a subi de profondes évolutions destinées à optimiser les performances. L’équipe technique de PEUGEOT SPORT a œuvré pour rendre la lionne encore plus fiable face au défi qui l’attend ! L’architecture de la nouvelle PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi est calquée sur celle du SUV PEUGEOT 3008 de série, élu ‘Voiture de l’Année 2017’, avec un moteur 3 litres bi-turbo et 2 roues motrices. La modification la plus visible porte sur les voies, qui ont été élargies de 20cm, dans le but d’améliorer la stabilité. Les suspensions ont été révisées afin de rendre la voiture plus facile à piloter.

Tous les 4 pilotes et co-pilotes ont activement participé au programme d’essais, qui a permis à la PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi d’accumuler plus de 18 000 kilomètres cette année, au Maroc, au Portugal et en France. Ils sont cependant conscients que le nouveau règlement technique ne joue pas en leur faveur. En effet, le poids minimum imposé à la PEUGEOT a été augmenté, tandis que les voitures des adversaires ont été allégés, tout en bénéficiant d’une plus grande liberté dans d’autres domaines. Mais comme il est coutume de le dire, la plus grande difficulté du Dakar résidera également dans la physionomie de l’épreuve elle-même.

À eux seuls, les 4 équipages de la ‘Dream Team’ PEUGEOT ont accumulé, sur 2 ou 4 roues, pas moins de 19 victoires absolues et 148 victoires d’étape, qui en font la formation la plus capée de l’histoire du Dakar. Malgré ce palmarès, PEUGEOT reste humble au moment d’aborder la 40ème édition de ce grand classique de rallye-raid – la 10ème en Amérique du Sud – que PEUGEOT a remporté 6 fois : son tout premier succès remontant à 1987 avec la PEUGEOT 205T16 Grand Raid.

Bruno Famin, Directeur Peugeot Sport
« Jusqu’ici, les modifications que nous avons apportées à la 3008DKR Maxi se sont révélées efficaces, mais le Dakar est toujours un voyage vers l’inconnu, ne serait-ce qu’en raison de la variété des terrains et des difficultés qui font partie de son ADN. De plus, nous avons eu une nouvelle démonstration de la forme de nos adversaires, lors du récent Rallye du Maroc. Cela dit, les ingénieurs de PEUGEOT SPORT n’ont cessé de travailler depuis l’arrivée du Dakar 2017 et je souhaite souligner l’extraordinaire esprit d’équipe qui règne au sein du Team PEUGEOT Total. Nous sommes ravis d’avoir pu engager les mêmes équipages que l’année dernière. Ils apportent l’équilibre parfait entre vitesse pure et expérience. Dans la mesure où il s’agira de notre dernière participation au Dakar, nous aurons à cœur de conclure ce programme stimulant sur une bonne note. Mais comme je le répète toujours, rien n’est joué d’avance. Le plus difficile, quand vous avez gagné, c’est de rééditer la victoire ! »

Stéphane PETERHANSEL, Pilote du Team PEUGEOT Total
« C’était une sensation extraordinaire de remporter à nouveau le Dakar en 2017 ! Cette victoire-là restera l’une des plus mémorables de ma carrière, en raison de la bagarre intense mais respectueuse qui nous a opposés à Sébastien et Daniel. Le problème c’est que plus on gagne, plus on veut continuer de gagner ! Cette année, le challenge promet d’être encore plus passionnant dans la mesure où il s’agit de la 40ème édition du rallye et de ma 29ème participation. Le Dakar m’apporte un certain équilibre : il s’agit d’un rituel qui vous occupe une année entière. On doit recharger ses accus, tout en se préparant à la fois physiquement et sur le plan mental. La tension commence à monter d’un cran à partir de septembre. Puis, en décembre, vous ne pensez plus qu’à partir et à avaler des kilomètres. C’est très grisant. Arrive enfin le moment du départ, un mélange d’excitation et de stress, et puis vous êtes à fond jusqu’à l’arrivée. C’est du pur plaisir de pouvoir courir dans ces paysages magnifiques, à bord d’une machine aussi incroyable. La PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi est tout simplement la meilleure voiture que j’ai conduite : la technologie qu’elle embarque, la beauté de ses formes, ses éléments en carbone, sans oublier sa fiabilité, sa performance et le plaisir qu’elle offre au volant, …. L’objectif de tout le monde, au sein du Team PEUGEOT Total, est de faire gagner PEUGEOT une nouvelle fois et de conclure ainsi ce programme en beauté. »

 

Sébastien LOEB, Pilote du Team PEUGEOT Total
« Je suis très satisfait de la vitesse à laquelle nous nous sommes adaptés à cette discipline, même si nous aurions besoin d’être un peu plus réguliers afin de transformer cela en victoire. Tout au long de l’an passé – lors du Dakar 2017, du Silk Way Rally et du Rallye du Maroc – nous avons prouvé que nous faisons partie des meilleurs et que nous sommes proches du but. Cela dit, nous n’avons que 6 rallyes-raid à notre actif et, forcément, nous manquerons toujours d’un peu d’expérience par rapport aux autres… La PEUGEOT 3008DKR était déjà une excellente voiture mais, en tant que pilotes, nous ne cessons de demander davantage de performance. Les ingénieurs de Peugeot Sport ont repoussé les limites avec la nouvelle 3008DKR Maxi. Elle est non seulement fiable mais aussi capable d’aller partout, de tout encaisser. C’est un régal de la piloter, je me sens vraiment en confiance pour la pousser. Elle a évolué, tout comme Daniel et moi-même avons progressé aussi, en tous points. Le Dakar est, par définition, imprévisible et nous mettons toutes les chances de notre côté pour le gagner cette année. »

 

Cyril DESPRES, Pilote Team Peugeot Total
« Mes préparatifs personnels pour le Dakar 2018 sont plus ou moins identiques au programme que j’ai suivi ces 17 dernières années, en mettant l’accent sur l’entraînement physique. Tout s’est très bien passé jusqu’ici et nos récents essais au Maroc ont confirmé le bon feeling que je ressens. Lorsque vous passez entre 6 et 8 heures par jour dans l’habitacle, être au meilleur de sa forme fait la différence. Suite à nos bons résultats au Dakar 2017, puis la victoire au Silk Way Rally cet été, nous attendons, avec David, beaucoup de cette édition 2018 du Dakar. Je suis ravi des progrès que nous avons accomplis d’année en année et je compte poursuivre sur cette courbe ascendante. L’an dernier, nous avons terminé à la 3ème place, alors il n’y a que 2 façons de faire mieux cette fois-ci ! Nous avons l’impression que l’édition 2018 du Dakar sera un vrai rallye-raid, avec de la navigation difficile et des dunes au départ au Pérou. La complexité des étapes et la compétitivité de nos adversaires ajouteront à la difficulté. Je suis tombé éperdument amoureux de la nouvelle 3008DKR Maxi. Avec PEUGEOT, nous nous sommes rendus au Maroc tous les ans depuis 2014 et cette version « Maxi » est indéniablement la voiture la plus rapide que nous avons eue entre les mains. Je suis impressionné par sa stabilité, sa puissance et sa fiabilité. L’auto que nous avions pilotée au Silk Way Rally était déjà performante, mais celle-ci met la barre encore plus haute. Le travail des ingénieurs a été sans relâche et je suis très impatient de repartir en course ! »

 

Carlos SAINZ, Pilote du Team PEUGEOT Total
« Je me sens confiant. Les essais que nous avons effectués – notamment depuis le Rallye du Maroc – se sont tous très bien déroulés. Même si nous ne nous sommes pas imposés au Maroc, ce rallye aura été très positif, dans la mesure où il a révélé des problèmes qui auraient pu nous faire perdre beaucoup de temps au Dakar. Le rallye-raid nécessite une vraie régularité et je pense que nous avons su trouver le bon rythme au Maroc. Après tout ce travail, nous nourrissons de grands espoirs pour le Dakar. Notre préparation est toujours la même : dès septembre nous faisons le maximum pour nous aligner au départ avec la meilleure forme physique possible, prêts à aborder les hautes altitudes. Ces dernières années, nous avons toujours eu la vitesse nécessaire pour emporter le Dakar ; nous aurons juste besoin d’un peu plus de chance cette fois-ci. Je n’ai aucun doute sur la compétitivité, la vitesse et la fiabilité de la nouvelle PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi. Les domaines dans lesquels la 3008DKR pouvait être encore améliorée ont été évoqués dès le lendemain de l’arrivée du Dakar 2017, et cette nouvelle version est vraiment efficace. Le staff technique du Team PEUGEOT Total a réalisé un travail formidable et il me semble que l’ensemble de l’équipe, y compris les équipages, se sent encore plus serein qu’à ce stade l’an dernier. Tout est prêt, nous attendons désormais le départ au Pérou avec impatience. Le règlement a changé et les véhicules à quatre roues motrices auront quelques atouts supplémentaires cette année encore. Cela va nous compliquer la vie, bien sûr, mais j’ai une confiance absolue dans les qualités de notre équipe ! »

Superbike World Championship – Spain (Jerez), October 2017

Another title for Kawasaki

Thanks to Jonathan Rea’s new twin-win on the Jerez circuit, in Spain Kawasaki made sure they’d clinched the World Championship title. A new reward for an exceptional season.

The Races

On a circuit where he has never really shone before, Jonathan Rea chalked up a new twin-win, bringing his number of victories this season to fourteen. And while he made the most of Melandri’s technical problems on Saturday afternoon, his success the next day was due to no-one other than himself.

I just had a perfect bike today, I could not have dreamed better.

Jonathan Rea

Making the podium of the first race, Tom Sykes had to settle for fifth place in the second. Finishing six seconds behind the winner, the Brit complained of a traction control problem. Called in to replace Randy Krummenacher at Pucetti Racing, Sylvain Guintoli showed his stuff by taking sixth and eighth place. In Supersport, Anthony West was tasked with replacing the unfortunate Kenan Sofuoglu who suffered a fractured pelvis when he fell in Portugal. The eclectic Australian rider rose to the challenge by making it to the podium. Canducci crossed the finish line in eleventh position while Bassani, Ryde’s replacement, took the points for 14th place.

The Championship

After the rider’s title, the manufacturer’s title. For Kawasaki, it’s the third in a row.

The manufacturers’ world championship title is not only due to the bike, the rider, the staff or the team of engineers. It is the result of the work of each person involved since the beginning in this project, whether on the track or at the race service in Japan. Everyone has made a difference and I am very proud to have contributed.

Jonathan Rea

In the riders’ standings, Chaz Davies joined Tom Sykes in second place. The battle for the title of vice-world champion will be fought during the final race of the season in Qatar. In Supersport, Kenan Sofuoglu retained his second position despite his absence in Jerez. Kyle Ryde is now thirteenth and Canducci fourteenth.

The Background

Although the category is subject to particularly strict regulations, Superbike riders do not use just any old fuel. At Kawasaki, they use a gasoline specially developed in the Total laboratories of the Solaize Research Centre. Before being used in the race, this fuel is tried out on the test bench, and then confirmed in use on a circuit.

We have a key partner with Akira, the preparer of the Japanese brand’s engines, which also allows us to test potential fuels between two championships. Because in Superbike, to limit costs, development is prohibited from the first race onwards.

Romain Aubry
one of the engineers assigned to research

It’s now been twenty years since Total’s engineers started working hand-in-hand with the engine manufacturers at the Kawasaki plant. The cooperation started in MotoGP before focusing on the Superbike World Championship, when the Japanese manufacturer decided to revise the strategy of its commitment in motorsports

MotoGP World Championship – Australian Grand Prix, October 2017

Miller, Hero at Home

Absent in Japan because of fractured femur, Jack Miller made a brilliant comeback to competition in front of his family and friends in Australia. Three weeks after surgery on his leg, the Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS rider crossed the finish line in seventh place.

The Races

Fifth in the practice test sessions, seventh in the race, at Phillip Island Jack Miller had his best weekend of the season. A performance all the more heroic in that the Australian rider had to skip the previous Grand Prix, in Japan, because of a fractured femur.

The injury didn’t bother me and I must admit that this circuit is very special for me. I had to slow down at the end of the race because I overstretched my rear tyre during the first laps.

Jack Miller

at the finishing line of the penultimate race of the season. The Australian even completed a few laps leading the pack to the cheers of the public. For Tito Rabat, the weekend in Australia was more difficult. The Spaniard finished it in sixteenth position, just short of a few points.

The Grand Prix was still useful for me. I learned a lot by riding in mixed conditions during the three days. That will serve me in the future.

Tito Rabat

In Moto2, Franco Moribelli made it to the podium behind the two KTMs of Oliveira and Binder, while Alex Marquez finished sixth after skidding off the track. After winning in Japan, the Spaniard suffered more physically on the Phillip Island circuit.

I’m still not back one hundred percent but I didn’t give up.

Alex Marquez

In Moto3, Kornfeil confirmed his return to form by finishing twelfth, but Pulkkinen fell.

The Championship

In chalking up six points more than Tom Lüthi, Morbidelli has consolidated his leading position in Australia. With only two races left in the season, the leader of the Moto2 championship is now twenty points ahead of his Swiss rival. Marquez has slipped back to fourth place with one point less than Oliveira. In MotoGP, Miller has moved up to twelfth place while Rabat has dropped down to twentieth position. The Spaniard, however, is only one point behind Abraham. There was no change in the Moto3 standings, Kornfeil retaining his twenty-first position.

The Background

Whether racing at Le Mans, Jerez, Motegi or Phillip Island, Elf riders all use fuel made at the Total ACS research and development centre in Givors. Packaged in 50-litre drums, the fuel is transported to the various circuits by truck, but also by freighter when it comes to shipping it to the other side of the world. For the overseas tour of October, for example, there are three specific consignments of 7,500 litres of special fuel that are organized from the port of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. The first bound for Tokyo, the second for Melbourne and the third for Port Klang.

The shipments are made two months before each Grand Prix. We have to take into account the risks of delay due to transport problems, customs formalities or eventual strikes.

Jacky Hutteau
in charge of the management of orders
and distribution on the race circuits

LE BROUILLARD PRIVE ALPINE DE LA VICTOIRE

  • Signatech Alpine Matmut termine à la deuxième place LMP2 des 6 Heures de Fuji.
  • Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrão et Gustavo Menezes n’ont pas pu concrétiser leur domination, la majeure partie de la course ayant été perturbée par les conditions météo.
  • Malgré cette situation frustrante, l’équipage n°36 réduit l’écart sur le leader du championnat à deux courses de la fin.

Typique du Japon à cette période de l’année, la météo pluvieuse s’invitait dès les essais. Chargés de qualifier l’Alpine A470 n°36 sur une piste détrempée, Nicolas Lapierre et André Negrão réalisaient le quatrième temps combiné.

Dimanche, il pleuvait encore au moment de donner le départ des 6 Heures de Fuji. Après un quart d’heure passé derrière la voiture de sécurité, la course était lancée. Dès le premier virage, Nelson Piquet (n°13) partait en tête-à-queue juste devant Nicolas Lapierre, qui l’évitait de justesse. Après un tour, l’Alpine occupait la cinquième place de la catégorie LMP2.

Très à l’aise malgré les conditions, Nicolas entamait une superbe remontée en débordant successivement James Rossiter (n°26), Oliver Jarvis (n°38) et Alex Brundle (n°37). Il revenait ensuite dans le sillage de Bruno Senna (n°31), mais la voiture de sécurité faisait son retour à cause du brouillard enveloppant le tracé nippon. Après une heure de course, Nicolas et ses rivaux en profitaient pour effectuer leur premier passage par les stands.

Les conditions ne s’améliorant pas, le drapeau rouge était brandi après 1h20 de course. À ce stade, l’Alpine n°36 était classée en troisième position des LMP2. Après une demi-heure d’interruption – au cours de laquelle le compte à rebours des six heures continuait de s’égrener – la course était relancée et Nicolas Lapierre reprenait sans tarder la deuxième place. Améliorant régulièrement le record du tour, le pilote Alpine revenait progressivement sur la tête de la course.

Lors d’une nouvelle neutralisation, Nicolas passait le volant à André Negrão. Une fois le Brésilien au volant, les panneaux « SC » étaient encore brandis à plusieurs reprises, pour que les commissaires puissent dégager les voitures sorties de la piste. Grâce à une stratégie offensive, consistant à s’arrêter avant les autres prétendants à la victoire, la Signatech Alpine Matmut s’installait en tête au 85e tour.

Après une sixième intervention de la voiture de sécurité, les 6 Heures de Fuji étaient relancées alors qu’il restait un peu plus de deux heures à disputer. Lancé à la poursuite de Ho-Pin Tung (n°38), André Negrão finissait par reprendre la deuxième place au prix d’une splendide manœuvre. Alors qu’il revenait sur le leader, la course était de nouveau interrompue au drapeau rouge à cause du brouillard.

À l’issue d’une très longue attente, la direction de course s’apprêtait à relancer le peloton pour les dix dernières minutes, mais l’absence de visibilité annulait ces velléités et les voitures regagnaient le parc fermé sans même voir le drapeau à damiers.

L’équipage n°36, qui aurait bénéficié d’une stratégie consistant à ne plus s’arrêter jusqu’à l’arrivée, ne gravissait « que » la deuxième marche du podium. À défaut d’avoir pu s’installer à bord de l’Alpine A470, Gustavo Menezes trempait sa combinaison de champagne !

Au classement général, Signatech Alpine Matmut reprend trois points au leader et reste ainsi dans la course au titre. Après cette manche frustrante pour une bonne partie du plateau, le FIA WEC se poursuivra dans trois semaines avec son avant-dernière manche, courue sur le Circuit International de Shanghai (5 novembre).

Ils ont dit

Bernard Ollivier, Directeur général-adjoint d’Alpine
« Nous avons vécu une course incroyable, avec de multiples rebondissements : six entrées de la voiture de sécurité, un ‘Full Course Yellow’, deux drapeaux rouges… En premier lieu, je tiens à féliciter la direction de course et l’organisation, qui ont tout fait pour que cette course ait bien lieu, ainsi que l’ensemble des pilotes qui ont démontré un niveau très relevé dans ces conditions extrêmes. Mais le sentiment qui prédomine est la déception. Notre voiture était la plus rapide, nos pilotes étaient extraordinaires et l’équipe adaptait en permanence sa stratégie. Si la course avait été à son terme, nous aurions pu rallier l’arrivée sans marquer d’arrêt supplémentaire et la victoire aurait sans doute été acquise. Malgré ce panache, le résultat n’est donc pas à la hauteur. En tous cas, je suis très fier de l’équipe Signatech Alpine Matmut. »

Philippe Sinault, Team principal Signatech Alpine Matmut
« C’est rageant de voir la victoire nous échapper, alors que nous étions les plus rapides. Les ingénieurs ont effectué un travail fantastique et notre voiture était la plus rapide dans ces conditions précaires. Notre stratégie était parfaite et nous avions tout mis en place pour ne plus avoir à ravitailler jusqu’à la fin. Nous étions sereins et les pilotes apportaient la dernière touche à cet effort collectif. Après la victoire acquise sous la canicule d’Austin, nous avons démontré que nous sommes désormais au plus haut niveau de performance, quelles que soient les conditions. Nous n’avons pas gagné, mais nous avons tout de même repris quelques points au leader du championnat. La fenêtre est plus étroite, mais nous allons continuer à tout donner jusqu’à la fin de la saison. »

Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36

 

Nicolas Lapierre

« Lors des qualifications, nous n’avions clairement pas le meilleur rythme et nous avons remis les choses à plat pour préparer la course. L’équipe Signatech Alpine Matmut a démontré sa capacité de réaction, car nous étions clairement les plus rapides aujourd’hui. Le résultat brut est donc plutôt frustrant, mais nous gardons des espoirs d’être titrés en réduisant l’écart avec les premiers. Il faudra compter avec nous lors des deux dernières manches ! »

 

Gustavo Menezes

« C’est bien la première fois que je monte sur un podium sans avoir pris le volant de la voiture ! Dans le garage, j’ai vécu avec passion les changements de stratégie et je partage la frustration de l’équipe, car nous avions les capacités de gagner cette course. Je ne peux qu’être impatient de me retrouver à bord de l’Alpine A470 à Shanghai… »

 

 

André Negrão

« Après une entame de week-end assez difficile, nous avons beaucoup progressé dans nos réglages pour piste humide. Nous n’avons pas gagné alors que le potentiel était là, mais nous ne pouvons rien nous reprocher. Le brouillard n’était pas notre allié, mais nous terminons tout de même deuxième en conservant des chances de jouer le titre jusqu’à la fin. Rendez-vous en Chine ! »