There has been a major upset before the start of the Monza 4-Hour Race. The Oreca #28 IDEC SPORT has been removed from the rankings after a safety problem.
All of the hard work done by the team and Paul-Loup Chatin’s fast lap no longer count after the qualifiers. After their good performance, the Oreca was taken away fro technical checks. While #28 respected the norms, a safety system in the gear box caused a problem, as Nicolas Minassian, the head of racing explains.
“When you are fast, you are checked, so that means we did really well. But our qualifying times have been wiped out, so we’ll be setting off at the rear of the class. This safety system has nothing to do with the performance. It is used to disengage the gears if there is an incident on the track,” explained the former pro driver. “The system was checked on Friday during the technical checks. It’s unfortunate as we had done a lot of work to get to this level of performance. Rules are rules. We accept that, but we proved we were competitive.”
Following the decision taken by the controllers #28 will be back with #27 at the back of the grid in the LMP category. With all the other cars and the narrow track, setting off at the rear of the pack is like a 30-second penalty, particularly as the drivers need to be cautious when overtaking.
“I remain confident in the team and drivers that they will do their best and bounce back. We’re still aiming for the podium as our car and team are competitive. With our three drivers, we have a good balance and we’ll be giving it our all. It’s disappointing as this doesn’t affect our performance. At a circuit like Monza, there could be upsets in the race so it is important to find the right strategy. This is what happens in motor racing.” The race begins on Sunday at noon. Patrice and Paul Lafargue will be setting off at the rear of the grid, but anything could happen.