NEWS - Pierre Ragues
PIERRE RAGUES Official Web Site

Prologue (Le Castellet)
08th-09th April 2019
Championnat de France



Pierre Ragues and the Duqueine Engineering team completed the 4 Hours of Monza in sixth position after a turbulent race, which featured several safety car periods and a number of incidents that hampered the team’s progress.
Driving the Oreca 07 LMP2 car alongside his team-mates Nelson Panciatici and Nicolas Jamin, Pierre continued to show the competitive pace that saw the team secure a podium finish at Le Castellet last month. Unfortunately, despite setting some of the race’s fastest laps, the team weren’t able to meet their pre-event ambitions.
The team started Friday’s free practice sessions around the 5.793km Autodromo Nazionale Monza in encouraging form. Focusing on race pace, car settings and tyre evaluation, they amassed 82 laps over the two sessions.
Saturday’s qualifying saw the team set a front row start as they moved up to second place following disqualification for two other cars. With Pierre on starting duties, all eyes were on the podium.
The race started well, as the French racer avoided the tight pack at the first chicane. It only took until lap 8 before the first safety car was deployed, offering Duqueine a clever strategy opportunity. By pitting under the SC, the team was out of position, jostling for the top-eight but with the cars in front needing to stop. 
As a second safety car appeared with 3:14 remaining, the rest of the cars pitted, enabling Pierre to take second place, and then the lead of the race. As quickest driver on the track, Pierre built up an impressive 15-second advantage before handing over to Nelson, as different strategies came into play. 
As the race moved onto lap 50, Nelson pitted but he was hit from behind at the entry to the pit lane, requiring a rear-end change. Losing 12 seconds of time, he returned in second overall. 
Yet more safety car appearances on laps 60 and 62 respectively turned to the race on its head once more with Nelson down in tenth place, but awaiting the pit stops of other cars. The team moved up to fifth, as the Oreca 07 was handed over to Nicolas Jamin. The battle for fifth was fierce, but more drama struck in the pit lane as the DragonSpeed car hit the rear of the Duqueine racer during his pit stop, costing another 15 seconds. Jamin had pitted at the same time as the TDS car that went onto finish the race in second. 
Nicolas himself ultimately crossed the line in sixth place after losing the top-five due to a fuel alarm that required him to slow down, allowing the hard-charging Nato to pass. But without the incidents and issues, many caused by external factors, a victory may have been on the cards this weekend.
Duqueine now holds fourth in the ELMS team’s table, while Pierre and his team-mates share fifth in the drivers’ classification.
Pierre commented: “Not the race result we wanted but we have to take consolation from the performance shown by our Oreca 07 around the fantastic Monza circuit. It was a crazy and chaotic race with more safety car periods and incidents than I have experienced for a while! We started strongly and knew that our package could fight for the podium, or even the victory. I was pleased with the performance from our Michelin tyre compounds in the higher temperatures, which really aided our race pace. Unfortunately, the pit lane incidents - that were out of our hands – prevented us from achieving that, despite showing our potential by leading at one stage by 15 seconds! We knew it was possible. These things happens in racing, so we will do all we can to bounce back at the next event at the Red Bull Ring in July. I am delighted with the performance of the entire Duqueine Engineering team this weekend, the co-operation with my team-mates and the continued backing of my partners GroupAuto, Yacco, Sparco and Ellip6.”

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