NEWS - Pierre Ragues
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19th-21st July 2019
24H du Mans

24 Hours of Le Mans
15th-16th June 2019
Championnat de France



Torrential rain brought an early end to the 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps today with Pierre Ragues once again suffering a race of misfortune. The French racer was not even able to start his stints in the #29 Oreca 07 LMP2 car with the race red-flagged at the halfway mark due to treacherous track conditions.
Organisers had sensibly brought the start of the race forward in anticipation of wet weather that was a prevailing feature of this weekend’s penultimate round of the 2018 European Le Mans Series. Unfortunately with worsening conditions, and a race that had already been inundated with incidents and safety car periods, there was no choice but to bring out the red flag to stop the race early.
For Pierre and his Duqueine Engineering team-mates, Nelson Panciatici and Nicolas Jamin, it was a cruel blow after another competitive performance with race-winning promise. The crew had been among the fastest LMP2 crews in the rain-affected practice sessions, and Panciatici qualified the car third on Saturday afternoon, just 0.3s from pole.
Jamin was on starting duties with the race setting off behind the safety car, where it remained for the opening 15 minutes. Once the safety car had come in, Jamin quickly propelled himself into the lead with some impressive overtaking. It was only eight laps before the SC made the first of several reappearances with the team’s gap at the front reduced. 
Making their first fuel stop on lap 21, the team remained in front but further safety cars hampered their progress, with differing pit stop times dropping them down to fifth. Still, in a turbulent race the team remained hopeful of reclaiming a podium at least. 
With 2h30 on the clock, Jamin handed over the Panciatici who remained inside the top-five, and with a close gap, when the race was stopped after 40 laps. For safety reasons, ELMS organisers opted not to restart the race, giving the Duqueine Engineering team no chance to fight back.
Pierre commented: “The organisers made absolutely the right call given the chaos that was happening throughout the race. We expect wet conditions at Spa, but this was on a different level! It was a real shame because I didn’t get chance to race today, and we were unable to recover the positions we lost as a result of the multiple safety car periods and pit stop calls. The timing of the red flag was unfortunate given our position and potential. We showed our speed all weekend, and we could have fought for the win this weekend. It seems that bad luck is following us lately. All we can do is remain confident in our own abilities and look to finish this ELMS season on a high in Portimão next month. Thanks to the team for their hard work all weekend, to my team-mates and to my partners GroupAuto, Ellip6, Yacco and Sparco.”
Half points were awarded for the shortened race, with the final classification as below:
1. United Autosports P. Hanson / F. Albuquerque 2:01:20.812 
2. Dragonspeed H. Hedman / B. Hanley / N. Lapierre +1.862  
3. Panis Barthez Competition T. Buret / J. Canal / W. Stevens + 8.702  
4. IDEC Sport G. Aubry / P. Chatin / M. Rojas +12.760 
5. Duqueine Engineering P. Ragues / N. Jamin / N. Panciatici +17.389 

LMP2 Fastest Lap by Duqueine Engineering: 2:29.009 (Lap 17)

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