The second meeting of the European Le Mans Series season took place this weekend on the legendary Monza track. This second race was the last preparation before the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The qualifying session was serious however, was tainted by a track exit of the Oreca 07 N. 30 with many damage on the front of the car. After 8 hours of hard work, Team DUQUEINE has put the car in good shape for the race.
Sunday, May 12th, it was noon on the mythical Italian track when the start was given. Pierre Ragues was the first to start seventh on the grid. At the end of the first lap, the car was P5. The Norman driver was P4 in the next lap taking the advantage over Alexandre Coigny at the wheel of the Cool Racing car N. 37. After ten minutes, the car took a new position in the overall classification by overtaking the G-Drive Racing car N. 26. After 30 min of race, DUQUEINE Engineering was second.
After 1:15 race, Nicolas Jamin took the stint and left the pit lane P9. The driver came back in seventh place after 10 minutes. Shortly before the mid-race, Jamin was P6, avoiding contact with a competitor defending a little too hard his position. At 2:15 of race, a new pit stop put the car in eighth place overall. The second French driver was back P6 in just a few laps.
Richard Bradley took the wheel at 2:50 of race. The British driver came out P6. He also made a good stint and crossed the finish line of the 4 Hours of Monza in the same position.
DUQUEINE Engineering finished the Italian meeting sixth overall. A new race that allowed the whole Team to work seriously before going to « La Sarthe » for the biggest motorsport event in the world on June 15th and 16th.
“We were quite unfortunate with timings today. The end result doesn’t really reflect our performance level and potential. We had some disjointed practice sessions but I felt that we would still be able to put up a fight. Starting from seventh, I tried to channel the same approach as we had at Paul Ricard – and that seemed to work. It only took six laps to get into the top-three, and then we moved up to second as I gained confidence from the car. Monza is always a place that inspires strong performances. The FCY created split strategies, which put us down the order, but we were hopeful of responding. Unfortunately, the timing of the SC was not good for us and we had to settle for our final position of sixth. A frustrating race but one in which we showed again our potential as candidates this season.”
"The 4 hours of Monza was for us the most complicated race in ELMS. Everything seemed to be against us throughout the weekend. Despite this, the whole team gave the maximum. The mechanics did an amazing job following my qualifying session to put the car back in place for the race. In the race, we did the best we could. It was for me the most difficult stint of my career, I was very in trouble with the car. This 6th place is still synonymous with big points for the championship. We must think long term and remember our goals. We are aiming for the championship. We will now work even more to move forward and find good feelings. I have full confidence in our team. We will find the solutions and come back stronger than ever at Le Mans."
"It was a really difficult race. I think under the circumstances we did as well as we could. For the strategy, it was difficult to deal with many Full Course Yellows and the Safety Cars."
"The weekend was very difficult for the team. We had trouble finding the right balance of the car. After the crash in qualifying session, the whole team supported Nico (Jamin) because we asked him to outdo himself. That's part of the risk and we assume it. The team once again did an exceptional job to put the car back on track. It's in a moment like this that I realize how important they are to me and DUQUEINE Engineering. In the race, Pierre (Ragues) once again made an incredible stint. Nico (Jamin) hit by a competitor who had a late lap, spewing him and damaging the splitter and aero elements of the car. It made it difficult for us to keep our position. Despite these new issues, he made a serious stint. Richard (Bradley) was also very good on the track in view of the condition of the car. This reinforces my expectations on this crew! It's a weekend to be classified among the bad experiences... But any experience is constructive. Now, let’s go to Le Mans!"
Yann Belhomme, Team Manager of DUQUEINE Engineering
Free practice 1 - P6 (1:37.171)
Free practice 2 - P10 (1:37.290)
Qualifying session - P7 (1:35.965)
Race - P6 (1:37.349)