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Pla: Pole reward for the team
21 June 2013
Olivier Pla said LMP2 pole was a good reward for the OAK Racing team after the Frenchman clinched top spot in class following qualifying for the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Pla left it until late on to put the #24 Morgan-Nissan into top spot, posting a time of 3mins 38.621secs to take pole ahead of the G-Drive Racing Oreca, which had looked set to secure LMP2 honours.
David Heinemeier Hansson and Alex Brundle will share the #24 car with Pla.
“The car was really very well balanced and enjoyable to drive,” he said. “I had a clear run and, as I felt good in the car, I was able to push. On paper, securing pole position for a 24 Hours race isn't all that useful, but its just rewards for the entire team and it confirms that we're in contention, as we saw on the Test Day. Of course, the race is a different matter altogether, but we have a car that is capable of doing well.”
Bertrand Baguette, Ricardo Gonzalez and Martin Plowman will start from ninth position in LMP2 and Jacques Nicolet, Jean-Marc Merlin and Philippe Mondolot will start from seventeenth in the other OAK Racing entries after six hours of qualifying that featured changeable weather conditions and a number of red flag stoppages.
“I don't think that I have ever seen quite so much disruption over two days of free practice and qualifying at Le Mans,” team principal Sebastien Phillipe said. “The weather was difficult, and there were a lot of incidents and consequently, many interruptions. It was difficult to complete our testing programme with a lot less track time!
“This pole position in LMP2 doesn't mean we are going to win the race, but it does have some symbolic value. It's a very good result for the team and for Olivier. Once again, he has shown his exceptional driving skills.
“Now the really serious stuff begins, and I think we all hope that the weather will be a little kinder. Although we haven't had much track time during the sessions, our nine drivers are ready.”
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