NEWS - Pierre Ragues
PIERRE RAGUES Official Web Site
Championnat de France




2018-10-28

PIERRE RAGUES ON THE PACE BUT OUT OF LUCK IN PORTIMÃO

Pierre Ragues and the Duqueine Engineering team were cruelly robbed of a chance for victory in the 4 Hours of Portimão today, the final round of the 2018 European Le Mans Series, despite being on exceptional pace around the 4.684km track.
 
Having started from pole position, the #29 Oreca 07 LMP2 car picked up irreparable rear left suspension damage with 2h30 left on the clock while battling for the race lead, forcing the team to retire. 
 
Pierre and his teammates Nelson Panciatici and Nicolas Jamin had been on leading pace from the very start of the ELMS season finale, topping the timesheets in the first practice session on Friday. Working on setting adjustments and tyre evaluation, the team was in good shape against a strong field of 15 LMP2 entries. 
 
Heading into brighter weather conditions on Saturday, the team continued to work on its race pace. In qualifying trim, the team was equally impressive. Nicolas took pole by a mere 0.06s from their nearest LMP2 rivals to emerge as one of the main protagonists once again, just as they had done on many occasions during the season.
 
Pierre was on starting duties for Sunday’s race, held in windy but dry and sunny conditions. The Caen ace was determined to end the season on a high following several cases of misfortune during the season. 
 
A spirited start saw Pierre briefly relinquish the lead as the race start was placed under investigation and then subsequently under Full Course Yellow. When the green flag was shown, Pierre regained the lead with a spectacular overtaking manoeuvre to assert his control of the race. 
 
After 25 laps, and with 3h15 remaining, he pitted for fuel and two tyres on the left hand side of his car. An exceptional stop by the Duqueine Engineering mechanics saw Pierre re-join in the lead. In a close battle, the lead changed hands after 45 laps but remained wheel-to-wheel as Pierre handed over to Nelson after 50 laps. With just 0.6-seconds separating the leaders, the broken suspension ended the team’s hopes of finishing the season with a representative result that would have seen them move up the ELMS classification. 

Pierre commented: “I’m devastated our season has had to end in such a manner. We had been really competitive up to that point and I was sure we could have taken the victory. Nicolas did a great job to take pole yesterday, and I felt good at the start of the race. The opening lap I felt was a bit unfair but after the FCY I was able to retake the lead with a good overtake. It was a close battle - and a fun one - so handing over the Nelson we knew we had a chance. And then we had the broken suspension that the team could not fix, and which we will need to investigate. We’ve really had some horrendous luck this year. It has been very frustrating because we have had a fast car, a great team and some really outstanding potential, but there has always been something in our way. A win today would have helped us finish the season with a more representative result and potentially finish on the championship ‘podium’. Still, I am incredibly thankful to everyone at Duqueine Engineering, to my fantastic teammates Nelson and Nicolas, and to my partners GroupAuto, Sparco, Yacco and Ellip6 for their support. We’ve not had an easy season, with just one podium to show for our efforts, but I know we have shown the pace to do better. The objective for me now is to focus my efforts on my 2019 plans, for which my aim is to return to this incredibly competitive series.” 





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