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SIZING UP THE COMPETITION FOR LE MANS
The FIA World Endurance Championship returns to Europe this weekend for the ‘6 Hours of Spa’ at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. It’s an important race for all of the WEC teams, not only as it’s an opportunity to score championship points but also it’s the last race before the Le Mans 24 Hours. It’s a chance to make sure everything is running like clockwork and also to size up the competition.
The LMP2 class will be competitive with 16 cars taking the start, nine of which are running with Nissan engines. This busy class will provide a taster of what’s to come at Le Mans when 20 LMP2 cars will fight for top honours.
The Signatech Nissan team will race with two cars at Spa with the No.23 Oreca Nissan being raced by Jordan Tresson, Franck Mailleux and Olivier Lombard.
Nissan’s GT Academy winner Jordan Tresson didn’t get chance to race at Sebring as the car was involved in an accident before he could take his turn. This time out Jordan is hoping to get some good LMP2 mileage under his belt.
“Racing at Spa is always very special as it is one of the best race tracks in the world,” said Jordan. “Last year I won the Spa 24 Hours in the GT4 Nissan 370Z and that was an awesome moment for me. This year I think I will have a completely different experience, as I will be racing a prototype sportscar. I think our car will be well suited to this track but it will be a very tough fight as everyone is fully on it this year! From a personal point of view my objective is to gain more experience in the car and really get to grips with the downforce. This is an important race as it is the last one before Le Mans and our last chance to prepare for that.”
Franck Mailleux and Olivier Lombard both know Spa well and Franck in particular loves the Ardennes track.
“This is one of the best races of the year for me,” he said. “I love the track, with all of its ups and downs, even though I’ve never quite managed to get the perfect set up for the car there. This is the race where we start to feel the pressure of the Le Mans 24 Hours as this is our last chance to practice. We should get a lot from the car at Spa. Sebring was the ‘test track’ of HPD and the weather was quite hot; at Spa it will be smoother and better for the Oreca chassis and the temperatures will likely be lower as well, something that should work in our favour. Our target is to score some good points towards to championship and for Jordan to get quality race time in the car before Le Mans. We absolutely do not want to arrive at Le Mans with no points in the championship.
The six-hour race gets underway this Saturday at 1430hrs local time and will be broadcast live in its entirety on Motors TV across Europe.
The Signatech Nissan team will hold a press conference in their hospitality unit in the Red Paddock at Spa on Thursday at 1330hrs.
CATCH THE ACTION
LMP2 Qualifying takes place on Friday at 1540hrs and the 6-hour race starts at 1430hrs the following day (all times local).
TV: The race will be shown live on Motors TV. Please check listings on the day.
Radio: Radio Le Mans will be on air live during qualifying and throughout the race on www.radiolemans.com.
Online: Every session covered live and free to view on www.dailysportscar.com
Live Streaming and Live Timing: www.fiawec.com
Twitter: @Nissan_OnTrack @FIAWEC
2012 FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR
R1 March 17: Sebring 12 Hours - USA , R2 May 5: Spa 6 Hours - Belgium, R3 June 16/17: Le Mans 24 Hours - France, R4 August 26: Silverstone 6 Hours - UK, R5 September 15: Sao Paulo 6 Hours - Brazil , R6 September 29: Bahrain 6 Hours , R7 October 14: Fuji 6 Hours - Japan, R8 October 27: Shanghai 6 Hours - China