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Endurance Suzuka 8 Hours

KRT winners, SRC Champions!

At the end of a crazy final won by Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam, the Kawasaki SRC team won its first World Endurance Championship title.

All the action happened five minutes from the finish. Jonathan Rea had just taken control of the race after overtaking the official Yamaha ridden by the trio Nakasuga, Lowes and Van der Mark and the Honda with Takahashi, Kyonari and Bradl in the saddle. Stuck in thirteenth place, the SRC Kawasaki team had lost all hope of taking the title. Handicapped by tyre problems, delayed by the unfortunate entry of a pace car and a fall by Nigon, Gilles Stafler’s team had more or less accepted their fate. And then the Suzuki of the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT), placed ninth, broke its engine … “It was a crazy end to the race,” said the boss of the Kawasaki team. “We thought we’d lost the title for one point, and we ended up winning it with a five-point lead. It’s true we had a stroke of luck this time round, but it was so bad at the Bol d’Or that I think we deserve the crown.” It was a first for the Kawasaki SRC team, but also the first for Erwan Nigon and Jérémy Guarnoni, in tears at the arrival of this incredible Japanese final. “Everyone has done a great job this season,” said Davi Checa, the third man on the SRC. Our success is well deserved.” Shortly after Etienne Masson broke his engine, Jonathan Rea skidded on the oil left by the SERT Suzuki, forcing the race management to fly the red flag. The four minutes that remained in the race prevented the entry of the pace car, and the ranking of the Eight Hours of Suzuka was therefore based on the bike positions in the lap preceding Rea’s fall. The last time the Kawasaki team KRT won at Suzuka was 26 years ago.

STATEMENTS:

Jonathan Rea: “I cannot believe what is happening really. From being dejected and feeling that everything was out of our hands, I had already gone back to the hotel, said goodbye to all the guys, with lots of tears. I was in the restaurant already, ordering dinner, when my mechanic Uri called me and said, ‘Hey, are you sitting down?’ I thought he was going to ask me to go to another restaurant – but he then told me we had won the 8 Hours. I think common sense prevailed in that one. I have no words because I am really emotional and happy. The strategy was to work on fuel consumption and race consistency and make no mistakes. I feel we executed that quite well although I got quite tired and cramped at the end. But we prepared the best way possible with the limited time we had. I am so proud to be part of the project and what an effort from KRT, KHI, KMJ who prepared for this race in two tests. During the race it is like hell, the hardest race you can ever imagine, but getting a result like this almost makes me want to come back for more. The emotional roller coaster is unreal.”

Leon Haslam: “From everyone being in tears to getting the news sitting in a restaurant that we actually did win it, I have no words to describe how I feel. The Suzuka 8 Hours is always one of the hardest races of the year. The effort we put in to win, from us, the team and Kawasaki means it has been a big roller coaster of emotion. When the oil went down and the situation happened at the end; words cannot describe the lows we had. But when the good news came through, the highs were just as high. In the second half of each stint I really struggled physically but the bike was working well. I am so happy and I want to thank Kawasaki for this opportunity; also the whole team, Toprak and Johnny, and we pushed as hard as we could. It is a shame that we did not get to stand on the top of the podium but the result is in and we have won the Suzuka 8 Hours.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu: “Today I am very tired after watching the race for eight hours! But I am very happy for Johnny and Leon because that was an incredible job today. We are all happy and thank you to everyone. For me this was my first time here – and our team won.”

Guim Roda, KRT Team manager“This race has been outstanding and I think for the public, the fans and everyone it has been the most incredible Suzuka 8 Hours. Yamaha, Honda and Kawasaki – the riders and the factories – have been amazing everybody and they all saw a great race. The best point is that we finally got the victory after Johnny made an incredible last riding stint. The strategy we planned was very good so at the end we got the victory.” 

DS TECHEETAH AND JEAN-ÉRIC VERGNE DOUBLE WORLD CHAMPIONS

After an incredible season, DS TECHEETAH has today clinched the Teams’ Title and Jean-Éric Vergne has become the first double world champion in ABB FIA Formula E history.

After two nervrecking battles in Brooklyn’s Red Hook district, Jean-Éric kept it cool to cross the line as the 2018/2019 ABB FIA Formula E champion.

Mark Preston, DS TECHEETAH Team Principal: “This finale weekend couldn’t have started any worse with the incidents on track yesterday, and finished any better with the double titles today. People can call winning a championship once a flash in the pan, but to have done it twice is no mean feat and solidifies our position as front runners of the championship. I’d like to say a huge congrats to Jean-Éric and everyone in the team and back in the factory, because motorsport is truly a team sport in the end of the day. A team needs to run like a well oiled machine and ours is running like clock work.”

Xavier Mestalan Pinon, DS Performance Director: It’s been four years since we started our commitment in Formula E and we always had the goal of winning. Now it’s done, we are champions! We’re both Teams’ Champions with DS TECHEETAH and Drivers’ Champions with Jean-Éric Vergne. It’s historic and we are so proud! To achieve this level of performance you have to be in the right place at the right time and with the right people. Tonight this is done. The whole team should be very proud! We did it!”

Jean-Éric Vergne, Double Formula E World Champion: “Today has been just incredible. The weekend didn’t start in the way we expected and today wasn’t ideal but none of that matters now because we managed to get both championship titles. It’s still unreal to have become the first driver to be a double world champion and I can only thank my amazing team and everyone involved behind the scenes. This is for us!”

André Lotterer: “Huge congrats to JEV and to the whole DS TECHEETAH team. I’ve never experienced a team like this in my whole motorsport career before and everyone has deserved this double title win today. I wish I could have contributed to extending the gap even further but it wasn’t my weekend, that happens and the main thing is that we’re both Drivers’ and Teams’ champions!”

Superbike World Championship – United States

Rea takes a break

After taking control of the championship in Great Britain, Jonathan Rea accelerated on the Laguna Seca circuit to leave his contenders behind in the overall standings.

The quadruple Superbike world champion could not dream of a better scenario before the summer break. At Donington, in early July, Jonathan Rea shone by winning all three races of the weekend to overtake Alvaro Bautista, leader of the championship since the start of the season in Australia. A week later, in California, the Kawasaki rider scored more points by taking advantage of two errors made by his opponent to break away in the championship. After the start of season when he had had to bend without breaking, in recent weeks Jonathan Rea has found the recipe for success. On the Laguna Seca circuit, the Brit showed his current form by setting a new track record of 1’22″700. After winning on Saturday afternoon, he won again in the Superpole race before finishing second in the final leg behind Chaz Davies. “I’d never imagined a weekend like this in the United States,” said Rea. “I think I could have even won on Sunday afternoon if we hadn’t changed the settings of the bike before the last race. There was some floating on the front end and I preferred to keep close to Chaz who is not a rival for the title for the time being. The balance sheet for the weekend is extremely positive. We’ve regained the upper hand over our opponents. We’ll need to keep it in September when the championship starts up again.” Victim of a fall on Saturday, Leon Haslam had to continue his weekend with a painful hand and a weak arm on one of the most physical routes in the Championship calendar. The Brit showed his courage by finishing fifth in the sprint race and sixth in the last race on Sunday afternoon. “I managed to catch up with Sykes and Lowes but I didn’t have the strength to attack them,” lamented Jonathan Rea’s teammate. Toprak Razgatlioglu also confirmed his current form by crossing the finish line of both races in third place and finished fourth in the Superpole sprint.

The Championship

In two weekends, Jonathan Rea has completely change status. He’s now at the top of the championship score sheet with an 81-point lead over Alvaro Bautista. In Laguna Seca, the Kawasaki rider won his 80th victory in the Superbike World Championship and scored his 156th podium. Fifth overall, Leon Haslam is hot on the heels of Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark, while Toprak Razgatlioglu after his two podiums in California has consolidated his sixth place. The next event is in Portugal, on the Portimao circuit, on September 8.

MotoGP World Championship – Grand Prix of the Americas

New points for Oliveira

By finishing fourteenth on the Americas circuit, Miguel Oliveira has scored two new points that now make him sixteenth in the MotoGP standings.

After finishing on the heels of Pol Espargaro in Argentina, Miguel Oliveira completed the Grand Prix of the Americas in the wake of Johann Zarco, the other official KTM rider. An encouraging performance for the Portuguese. “This weekend was complicated,” he says. “In addition to the fact that the circuit is very difficult, the weather hasn’t helped us. The cancellation of the third free practice session reduced our time on the track and our ability to better adjust the bike. The track being very bumpy, we didn’t start in the best conditions.” That did not stop the KTM Tech 3 rider from finishing a skilful race and hold off the two Ducatis ridden by Tito Rabat and Karel Abraham to the finish. Hafizh Syahrin has a little more difficulty, the Malaysian rider finishing eighteenth, more than twenty seconds behind his teammate. In Moto2, Álex Márquez managed to take the lead early in the race. Starting from the front row, the former Moto2 world champion rode the first laps at a good pace before making a few small mistakes that made him lose contact with the leaders. He finally ranked fifth. Xavi Vierge was less successful on the other hand. Badly placed on the grid, the Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS rider found himself on the ground just after the start by being hit at the entry to the first bend by Fabio Di Giannantonio. Marco Bezzecchi also fell at the start of the race while Philipp Oettl took the chequered flag in eighteenth position.

The Championship

If he has slipped back to fifth place in the Moto2 overall standings after the Grand Prix of the Americas, Álex Márquez is still only fourteen points behind the leader, Lorenzo Baldassari, who fell in Texas. Unfortunate since the start of the season, Xavi Vierge finds himself in eighteenth place on the evening of the third race of the season. Marco Bezzecchi and Philipp Oettl are still running after their first points. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira has lost a place despite the two points scored in Austin. The Portuguese rider is sixteenth, tying on points with Jorge Lorenzo.

The Alpine A110 GT4 wins first-ever GT4 International Cup

With the victory of the n°36 Alpine A110 GT4 entered by the CMR team and driven by Pierre-Alexandre Jean and Pierre Sancinéna at the Bahrain International Circuit, Alpine adds another success to an extremely rich and eloquent history.

Organised by SRO during the Bapco Bahrain GT Festival at Sakhir, the first GT4 International Cup, a genuine World Cup for the category, brought together 21 crews and 10 constructors from around the world to conclude the 2018 season in style.

Right from free practice, the Alpine A110 GT4s prepared by the CMR team with Signatech technical support were on point. The n°36 set best time in the opening session before the n°26 of Antoine Leclerc and David Tuchbant did the same in session two.

After a low-profile qualifying despite Antoine Leclerc’s fifth place in Q2, the Alpine showed once again its potential in the two qualifying races. While the n°26 hit troubles in the field in both races, the sister car made two superb strong runs before the night-time grand finale. Forced to start at the rear of the field for the main race, David Tuchbant soon had to retire while Pierre-Alexandre Jean was starting to put on quite a show.

Third in the FFSA French GT Championship at just 17 years of age, Pierre-Alexandre Jean passed a dozen cars to move up to 7th on lap one. Fifth a lap later, the French driver was up to third place on lap five.

During the driver change window, Pierre-Alexandre Jean extended his stint as long as he could. With a clear track ahead of him, he put in a qualifying-like lap to make the difference before handing over to Pierre Sancinéna.

Once behind the wheel, the first champion of the Alpine Elf Europa Cup left the pits with the lead thanks to the hard work of his team mate. Never worried, the Normandy native was able to manage his pace while also gradually increasing his lead despite the German armada that was chasing from behind.

A few second after the clock reached the one-hour mark, the Alpine A110 GT4 in the blue, white and red Elf colours sealed the win and its triumph in the GT4 world… Barely five months after it competition debut!

Lionel Chevalier, Signatech Technical Director: “We are extremely proud to see an Alpine A110 GT4 win the first-ever GT4 International Cup. This victory is the reward for the work the Signatech Automobiles team put in for nearly 18 months and for the past several months with the CMR team. I want to congratulate them all, but also Pierre-Alexandre Jean and Pierre Sancinéna, two drivers who have starred in the Alpine A110 GT4 and Alpine A110 Cup. Following our successes in the both the French and European championships, this first world crown confirms the potential of our car. This is an incredible source of motivation for the future, even more so with such a high level of competition this weekend! We can’t wait to be in 2019 season to defend this title and set off on the conquest of different national and international championships.”

MotoGP World Championship – Australian Grand Prix

Mir returns to the podium

Joan Mir has come to the end of a difficult period and has returned to the podium at the Australian Grand Prix. This second place has brought the MotoGP World Championship back up to fifth position in the Moto2 classification.

The races

In spite of a difficult qualifying round and a modest fourteen position at the starting gate, Joan Mir completed a fantastic race on the Phillip Island circuit where last year he was crowned Moto3 world champion. The Spanish contestant kept the bit between his teeth and gained a strong second place after battling it out in the company of Binder and Vierge. Alex Marquez, still out of sorts after another crash during the practice sessions, finished in seventh position. Franco Morbidelli achieved his best MotoGP performance by crossing the finishing line in eighth position. For the fourth time since the beginning of the year, Tom Lüthi finished just outside the points in sixteenth position.

The championship

Thanks to the twenty points gained in Australia, Joan Mir is now in fifth position in the Moto2 classification just three points behind Lorenzo Baldassari in fourth place. Alex Marquez is now in sixth place after dropping a position to his teammate. Still in fourteenth place in the MotoGP, Franco Morbidelli has confirmed his leading position in the “Rookie of the Year” classification.

History

Australia, which has been represented in the speed world championships since 1989, organised its thirtieth Grand Prix event this year. The first two events were held at Phillip Island before moving to the Eastern Creek circuit near Sydney in the state of New South Wales. They remained there for six years before returning to the state of Victoria. The Phillip Island circuit has seen some particularly memorable contests since 1997. “This track is unique,” explains Franco Morbidelli. In addition to its geographical situation and the amazing view over the ocean, the Phillip Island circuit presents a unique challenge. It is an extremely fast track with very few deceleration points and a lot of highly technical bends which come in quick succession. This is what makes the races so memorable for the spectators.” This is compounded by chaotic weather conditions characterised by wind, showers and very cool austral spring temperatures all of which combine to create a breath-taking spectacle.

Bol d’Or – Success stalemated

Success stalemated

Leading the way until two-and-a-half hours from the finish, the SRC Kawasaki team finally passed the finish line of the 82nd Bol d’Or in seventh position. A huge disappointment for Gilles Stafler’s men.

Last year, on the Castellet circuit, the Kawasaki #11 threw in the towel before the end of the first hour of the race. Randy de Puniet had been forced to retire during his first relay, while he was largely in the lead. This year,the Kawasaki SRC team were stalemated once again. Everything had started well for Gilles Stafler’s men. Taking the lead after setting a new track record of 1’54″007 during the practice test sessions, Randy de Puniet and Jérémy Guarnoni and David Checa, Kawasaki’s new rookie for the 2018/2019 season, were in good shape. Despite a small fuel outage of no consequence after three hours of racing, a change of saddle at the beginning of the night for a lighting problem, and a puncture a few hours later, Gilles Stafler’s team thought they were on the road to victory, being three laps ahead of the Honda FCC. Motorbike mechanics unfortunately decided otherwise. “I had a first warning before passing the handlebars to Jeremy,” said Randy de Puniet. “The shifter was not working properly and I was having trouble shifting gears.” Guarnoni had to go to the pits several times to allow the mechanics to identify the fault and to change the parts in question. In the end, the Kawasaki passed under the checkered flag of the 82nd Bol d’Or in seventh position, eleven laps behind the winner.

Sebastien Loeb scores another podium for Peugeot at RX Latvia

The 9th round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Latvia was extremely closely-fought: to the extent that the winning margin in one of the Qualifying races (Q1) was just 0.009 seconds – or 23 centimetres on track! In the end, it was another podium for Team PEUGEOT Total, with Sebastien Loeb taking 3rd position, his 3rd straight podium finish in Riga and 6th of the season so far. On top of that, all 3 PEUGEOT 208 WRX lined up together in the Final: a great achievement for PEUGEOT in only its 1st year in this complex discipline. Even if the Final race didn’t entirely go to plan for Timmy Hansen and Kevin Hansen, who finished 5th and 6th respectively, it was still a strong team showing, with a useful points haul. Loeb was the second-best points-scorer of the weekend, while Team PEUGEOT Total scored more points (45) than any other team in Riga. PEUGEOT Sport remains in line with its target of challenging for wins, and there is still plenty to hope for from the next adventure in the USA, in just 10 days.

QUOTE/UNQUOTE

 

Bruno Famin, PEUGEOT SPORT Director
“Despite a Saturday that was quite tricky for us, with a few incidents in the Quali 2 session, we were able to fight back on Sunday, with 2 strong performances in Quali 3 and Quali 4 this morning, which led to an extremely strong Semi-final: I will admit that we were quite proud of this achievement. The Final was less good, which characterises what was quite a mixed weekend for us in the end, with some positives and some negatives. On the positive side, we have seen once again that the speed of the car is very good, allowing Sebastien to claim his 6th podium from 9 events. On the other hand, it’s clear that we still have some work to do, as we expected in our very 1st year with a full factory programme on the FIA World Rallycross Championship. The launch off the line is still one of our weakest points. We will be applying ourselves to that task, diligently and humbly, over the coming weeks and months. Again, I send all my thanks to all the people involved in this project, who are working relentlessly behind the scenes.”

Sebastien Loeb, PEUGEOT 208 WRX Evo #9 – 2nd in Riga
“The weekend went quite well: we made a good start right from Q1, then we struggled a bit more in Q2, hitting a barrier, which cost us some time. Q3 and Q4 today were especially good: I think we have a solid pace but the problem we have is that the 3 manufacturers here have nearly the same speed, so it’s very hard to make a difference on the track, and at the moment we’re not consistent enough at the race starts. Quite often I lose a place by the 1st corner, and that’s actually what happened in the Final today. But I’m happy to be back on the podium, of course! We just need to find a little bit more to be challenging for the victory and that’s going to be our objective between now and the end of the season. There aren’t any miracles in this sport, but you just have to work hard to understand how to improve. It’s definitely only a question of time, for the whole team.”

Timmy Hansen, PEUGEOT 208 WRX Evo #21 – 5th in Riga
“I’m happy with the result of this weekend overall and I think 5th is a fair reflection of what I deserved. My start wasn’t perfect in the Final and I was probably missing a bit to be challenging at the very top, but overall the speed was very, very good and we’ve seen some good progress; especially when we ended up with 3 PEUGEOTs in the Final. If we carry on working in this way, I think we can definitely achieve our goals. My highlight of the weekend was Qualifying 3: it’s a race that we won, where we were able to run in clean air and maximise all our opportunities away from traffic. I really enjoyed myself driving the PEUGEOT 208 WRX Evo. Now I will fly to the USA, where I will participate in the Nitro Games organised by Travis Pastrana prior to the next WRX race. So it’s only fun ahead!”

Kevin Hansen, PEUGEOT 208 WRX #71 – 6th in Riga
“I’m actually more than happy: I’m really delighted. I got through to the Final, for the 4th time this year, and I raced well all weekend. What makes me particularly pleased was the way that we reacted to the setbacks we experienced on Saturday. It was looking really tough but with the help of the team, we dug deep and were able to fight back: it’s really an extraordinary group of people here who never give up. From my perspective, I feel that I’m learning more all the time with this car and that we’re continuing the learning curve that we embarked on. I’m eager to make more progress now!”

NEXT ROUND (#10/12): USA – September 29th & 30th
​The FIA World Rallycross Championship resumes in a fortnight, from 29-30 September, at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. This venue is also home to the United States Grand Prix, but the rallycross track is a brand new purpose-built facility in the stadium area between turns 12 and 15, located in a natural amphitheatre so that fans can see the entire layout from any seat. The event also promises a festival-type atmosphere, with music and other entertainments scheduled as well as all the WRX action on track.

Superbike World Championship – Misano

Rea: Racing Science, Riding Art

After California, it was Italy that saw Jonathan Rea shine brightly. As at Laguna Seca, the Kawasaki rider won the two races of the weekend in Misano. With class and authority.

Kawasaki Racing Team

The Races

Superlatives start to fail when it comes to telling of Jonathan Rea’s exploits. In Misano, the Brit still showed off the science of racing and the art of riding by winning on Saturday and Sunday. Rea won the first race after completing all the laps in the lead after a great start from second place on the grid. The Kawasaki rider went looking for his second victory racing all out. “If the first race was more or less easy, the second was much more complicated,” he said. “Starting from the third line, you really have to be aggressive in the first laps and overtake without asking any questions. But once again the qualities of my bike allowed me to do my best, and I must admit that the new, wider Pirelli tires suit me down to the ground.” After overtaking Davies and Sykes, Rea got rid of Melandri and van der Mark to chalk up the sixty-fourth victory of his career. Starting from pole position, Tom Sykes had to settle for fifth place on Saturday afternoon. “I had the same worries as in Thailand with a dribble on the front wheel entering the corners,” regretted the former world champion. “We found the solutions the next day by changing the fork but I still lacked grip on the maximum angle to do better than a new fifth place.” Toprak Razgatlioglu finished eleventh and twelfth, while in Supersport Okubo had his best result of the season with ninth place. Sheridan Morais did not finish.

The Championship

On the eve of the summer break, Jonathan Rea has further consolidated his leading position. He now has three hundred and seventy points, ninety-two more than Chaz Davies, his current runner-up. Thanks to his twin top five, Tom Sykes has consolidated his fourth place. In the manufacturers’ standings, Kawasaki leads with fifty-nine points.

The Background

With the two new wins he has just chalked up at Misano, Jonathan Rea has not only increased his overall lead in the World Superbike Championship. Thanks to his new twin-win, the third of the season, the Kawasaki rider, who has won more than half of the races in which he competed this year, is doing as much good for his statistics as those of the Akashi factory. He now has a record of sixty-four victories and one hundred and twenty-seven podiums. And for Kawasaki, whose number of successes now stands at one hundred and twenty, it means the Japanese make has now taken second place behind Ducati in the standings of the most successful manufacturers in the history of the Superbike World Championship.

Signatech Alpine Matmut battles back for a podium finish at Spa-Francorchamps

  • The FIA WEC World Endurance Championship began today with the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium).

  • Signatech Alpine Matmut got the first pole of the year in the LMP2 category.

  • Despite a severe drive-through penalty early in the race, Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet put in a fantastic comeback drive to get their campaign off to a strong start with a large points haul.

  • The team will now start its preparation for the 24-Hours of Le Mans with the June 3rd Test Day in sight.

     

Contested in ideal Spring-like weather, the three free-practice sessions allowed Signatech Alpine Matmut to fine-tune the set-ups on the Alpine A470 and to correct over-steering issues they encountered early in the weekend.

Everything fell into place during a qualifying session marked by two long interruptions that slowed the No. 36 in its tracks. Associated with Pierre Thiriet, Nicloas Lapierre kept his cool to set the benchmark time in LMP2 and gave the team the first pole of the season by 0.024s.

On Saturday, the temperature was even warmer for the start of the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps at 13:30 in front of the packed grandstands.

Forced wide at turn one, Nicolas Lapierre had to straddle the kerb and dropped to seventh place. The early woes continued when the Frenchman received a drive-through penalty when the race direction felt that the return to the track had been done outside the regulations.

Nicolas Lapierre served his penalty before Pierre Thiriet took over in the first round of pit stops. The Silver driver showed speed and consistency on his double-stint as he made the most of the safety car period to make up ground and move up to fourth place.

Just after half-distance, André Negrão headed on to the track in third position before overtaking Weiron Tan during his triple-stint. Nicolas Lapierre then got back in the car behind the n°26 G-Drive.

As the final hour began, another safety car intervention wiped out the advantage that was patiently built by the crew. Signatech Alpine Matmut took advantage to bring Nicolas Lapierre in after his second stint.

André Negrão got back in the car to finish the race. After getting the absolute most out of his tyres to build a lead from his closest rivals, the Brazilian driver dropped behind Ho-Pin Tung on the last stint. The n°36 Alpine A470 took the chequered flag in third place.

Signatech Alpine Matmut will now turn its attention towards the 24-Hours of Le Mans, which will kick off on the June 3rd Test Day.

WEC at Spa-Francorchamps

What they said

Philippe Sinault, Signatech Alpine Matmut Team Principal   « This new season began with a pole position and a podium. This shows that our level of performance and our drivers were on point. Unfortunately, we had a complicated start to the race when Nicolas was pushed wide and got boxed in. In the heat of the moment, he played it safe, but received a penalty for returning to the track too early over the kerb. So, we opted for an aggressive strategy hoping for a safety car. This put us into second place for a long time behind the G-Drive, which was ineligible for points. Alas, the safety car in the final hour cost us a lot in destroying our fourty-second lead. For the final run to the flag, the guys behind us were on new tyres while we had used all of ours trying to make up ground. We still have to work on the consistency and wear of the tyres, but our three drivers gel together nicely. This should be one of or strong suits this season. Now the time has come to go into ‘Le Mans’ mode. Like each year, we will put in a new engine, new gearbox and new running gear. The next few weeks will be intense as we try to anticipate all the possible scenarios for the June Classic. »

Nicolas Lapierre wec

Nicolas Lapierre:   «We are starting the season on a solid foundationwith a good overall cohesion and purperformance that saw us get the pole yesterday. The team got everything sorted out between the free-practice sessions and a tough qualifying session with two red flags. At the start, there was some confusion among the LMP1 cars and I had to go on to the other side of the curbing. The race director felt that I didn’t return to the track in the proper manner. Yes, the penalty was harsh, but it is my responsibility. Like the entire team, I can’t wait for the next challenges. »

 

 

 

André Negrão WEC

André Negrão:   «It is a good result, but we    could’ve done better. Pierreand Nico did a fantastic job in getting the pole. It is a shame though that the hectic start penalised us just until the end of the race. We made up all the lost time, but the end of the race was tough with very used tyres. We need to continue to work in this area for the 24-Hours, but we will be back even stronger for Le Mans.  »

 

 

 

 

 

Pierre Thiriet WECPierre Thiriet:   «Although it is always disappointing not to win, we will get there in the long run and this is an excellent result. There are a lot of positive points in the way we carried on after some complicated free-practice sessions. Today, I had a lot of fun in the close fights while trying to stay in touch with the leaders in traffic. Our slightly offset strategy didn’t really work out. We need to work more on our race pace, but I have every confidence in the team.  »

Standings

Total 6 Heures de Spa-Francorchamps – LMP2

1. G-Drive Racing n°26 – 156 laps
2. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°38 +21.714s
3. Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 +55.737s
4. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 + 1 lap
5. TDS Racing n°28 + 1 lap
6. DragonSpeed n°31 + 1 lap
7. Larbre Competition n°50 + 4 laps
8. Racing Team Nederland n°29 + 17 laps

FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2*

1. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°38 – 25 points
2. Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 – 19 points
3. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 – 15 points
4. TDS Racing n°28 – 12 points
5. DragonSpeed n°31 – 10 points
6. Larbre Competition n°50 – 8 points
7. Racing Team Nederland n°29 – 6 points
*Not entered for the WEC Super Season, the n°26 G-Drive is ineligible to score points.