FIA WEC 2018/2019 Super Season was launched this weekend on the Spa-Francorchamps race track with the Total 6 Hours of Spa, under bright sunshine. This weekend is to be remembered in the team as a very dynamic one for the three drivers of the #28 TDS Racing Oreca07. Double stint for François Perrodo and Loïc Duval and five stints for Matthieu Vaxivière to collect the points of the 4th LMP2 place for the TDS Racing. The team also congratulates G-Drive Racing for their Belgian victory.
Loïc Duval, François Perrodo and Matthieu Vaxivière took advantage of the 36 laps they completed during FP1 to work on the car’s set-up on Friday morning. The second free practice session was unfortunately shortened to 12 laps due to a puncture for François and an off-road for Matthieu.
Loïc Duval, who has raced at two different places this weekend, had to deal with a very tight schedule to be in Spa for the WEC race as well as in Hockenheim for the opening meeting of the 2018 DTM season, where he fights for Audi. He left his teammates on Friday afternoon to fly to Hockenheim and came back the same way to finish the race on Saturday afternoon.
In the meantime, Matthieu and François continued to work on the car’s setting during FP3 to prepare qualifying, which was a little complicated for Matthieu as he was on track with new tyres twice the red flags were deployed. This hindered him to do more than one fast lap to set a time. François did his best to complete a good bronze driver qualifying lap which placed the #28 TDS Racing Oreca 6th on the LMP2 grid.
Matthieu Vaxivière started the race on Saturday at 1:30pm with a double stint before handing the wheel to François for his double stint after 33 laps and one safety car. François did the job in high traffic conditions before Matthieu took over waiting for Loïc to take his turn on lap 123. Loïc took the car to the chequered flag placing the #28 5th of the LMP2 category.
François Perrodo FRA Bronze driver: “After Le Castellet ELMS which was a race to start the season and get back into the mood, we could confirm here that there is a good potential in the car and the team for better results. To be very honest we could not battle for the podium but we are only a few seconds behind the #37 Jackie Chang Racing car and more over we are the first of the LMP2 with a bronze driver. This means clearly that we can fight for the first quarter of the grid. In addition, we earn the 12 points of the 4th place, as G-Drive Racing, who is not entered in the FIA WEC season, does not take any points today. We knew this race was going to be complicated because of Loïc ultra mixed planning, racing in Hockenheim and jumping into the car to finish the WEC 6 Hours of Spa. You really did great Loïc, Bravo! Also I want to thank Matthieu for his five stints and his overall LMP2 best lap in the race, it’s a great performance! On my side, Spa is not the racetrack where I feel the most comfortable and I realised that I still have a lot to learn driving in traffic. When I have a traffic free lap, I can deal ok, but with a lot of cars… it gets much more difficult. That’s one of the points I will have to work out in Monza.”
Loïc Duval FRA Platinium driver: “To be honest I hoped that the Safety car would help us more than it did, it was not the case and it’s a shame. I did a good first stint, even though I had not had any additional driving time since FP1. The car felt great, but I had to save fuel to make sure we don’t need an additional pit stop. When the third safety car of the race came out, that ‘problem’ was solved, so I could push harder at the end. During my second stint I had some over steer on the car and a lot of traffic, I think that’s where we ‘lost’ our 4th LMP2 place. Anyway, this was not a bad start and we know now, what are the things we have to work on, to gain some precious seconds. That’s the good point, and that’s what we will do in Monza next week.”
Matthieu Vaxivière FRA Gold driver: “My feelings about this weekend are a little mixed. It did not start so well. I did not have a lot of driving times during FP1 as it was necessary to have Loïc in the car before he left to Germany. In FP2, I lost the car after François had had a puncture, so we did not make many laps. Finally in qualifying, I had the red flags every time I had new tyres on, so I was not able to fully use them. In the end, we had the car 6th on the LMP2 grid, which in fact this is our place, but it’s not ideal to be in the middle of the field. We know we can do better in the race and be stronger, so of course I am little disappointed with today’s result. At the same time, we know now where we can do better and what to work on, and this good. That’s what we will do in Monza ELMS and during our test session here in Spa at the end of May. Our next WEC race is Le Mans 24 Hours and we have confirmed that our car is reliable, so even if the result is not great today, we know we have a good base to work on.”
Xavier Combet Team manager: “This first WEC meeting, on this particular Spa track was not an easy one, it was a race of twist and turns with all the red flags and safety cars, and it started as soon as in the qualifying session. It was not easy for a season start but in the end we are happy because neither the drivers, not the technical team did any strategy mistake. We will learnt from today’s event and improve what we would have needed to keep the 4th LMP2 classification. Our 5th place today is actually good, because the cars in front of us, are teams with stronger driver line-ups and no bronze (Gold/Silver/Platinum). We battled well with them who have a higher competition level than in ELMS and that’s exactly why we are here in WEC. The thing to remember is that if we are “unhappy” with the 5th place, it’s just because we know we can work for a better classification. It was a good work weekend, and we will keep working it out in Monza and during our Spa test session at the end of May where we will have our Le Mans Kit. In the meantime our aim is to continue racing without making any mistakes, preparing the car well and help the driver recover quickly. So we will continue in order to keep and to better this level of competitiveness. Le Mans is our next WEC race and I can confirm we have grown a big step forward compared to last year.”