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First podium of the season for DUQUEINE Team­


The 5th round of the ELMS took place in Belgium on the famous Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps.
Qualified 5th, the Oreca #30 of DUQUEINE Team fought until the end for this beautiful 2nd place.

The Spa-Francorchamps track did not deviate from its rules. When you ride in September in the Belgian Ardennes, plan the umbrella. Spa 2021, also marks the return of fans and the grid walk. What better than a podium to celebrate their return.

Wednesday’s collective tests took place under an unstable weather with alternating heavy rain and lulls. The development of the set up was not easy and the team knew how to use each moment effectively in order to gain experience in view of the race.

The weather was better during the rest of the weekend. The two free practices sessions on Friday and Saturday devoted to setting up the car and preparing the strategy for qualifying and the race.

René Binder, the Austrian driver of the Alésienne team, will have the task of finding the best time in qualifying. The session marked by a red flag that came out in the first minutes after a car went off the track in the Raidillon. However, René remained focused on his goal and achieved a beautiful lap that positioned Oreca #30 in 5th place on the starting grid.

As usual, Memo Rojas takes the start of the 4H race. At 11h the lights go out and the race starts. It’s chaos on the first corner. Thanks to his experience, Mémo is getting off to a good start and is 3rd at the end of the first lap. A few laps later, the safety car released. The first intervention in a chaotic race. A total of 2 safety cars and 3 full course yellow.

After an hour of racing, DUQUEINE Team makes its first driver change. René Binder comes into the game. It emerges P7 and starts a long and beautiful ascent thanks to a strategy shifted to the use of tyres. Rene must battle with the #29 Oreca of Ultimate, the #65 of Panis Racing and the #32 of United Autosport. During the second pit stop, the delayed strategy defined from the start allows René to come out 4th.

At an hour and a half from the end, he gave the wheel back to Tristan Gommendy. DUQUEINE Team was 4th. The goal when he climbs in the Oreca #30 is simple: to go and find this podium that stretches out their arms. Following a fierce battle with James Allen and then Will Stevens (Panis Racing), Tristan managed to win the duel and found himself P3 one hour from the checkered flag. He follows the strategy to the letter: drive fast and save fuel, his specialty! He continues his momentum and goes in search of the United Autosport #32.

At 30 minutes from the end, he managed to pass it and allowed the team to be second and to return to the stand one lap later for the refuelling. This time lag allowed the team to attack until the end, falling behind the #41 WRT Oreca driven by Louis Deletraz. The tension is at its peak in the stand. Tristan is only 7sec on a big pace and there are 5 minutes left before the finish. A final full race yellow presented and seals the result. After 4 minutes, the green flag waved for a final lap. Tristan Gommendy and the Oreca #30 cross the finish line in 2nd place. They are just 5.3 seconds behind the winner. This podium rewards all the efforts made by the team and the drivers.

A nice operation is done for the general classification. Only 12 points separates the team from the 2nd place. The battle will be intense at Portimao.

 

Gilles DUQUEINE : "This is for this kind of weekend that we love to race!!! On the most beautiful and difficult circuit in the world, a European world-class championship and a fantastic 2nd place at the finish!! My pleasure and my great satisfaction are addressed to the drivers who have been extremely efficient throughout the 4h of race, to Greg and his engineers who have made a perfect copy (setup, strategy, etc.), the team of mechanics who did another flawless in the preparation and refuelling. Finally a big thanks to Max who managed the whole to perfection!!! This is a beautiful book that conveys the values of the DUQUEINE Group: High objectives, requirements and performance…. Good Job! See you soon for the final in Portimao…."

 

Max FAVARD - Team Manager : "Spa is one of the most beautiful track in Europe. The race weekend was technically hard to get to the level of the leading teams. We achieved a super Qualif with René who places the car in 5th position. The race went perfectly, the engineers, mechanics and drivers optimised the management of fuel and tyres to have all the assets in hand at the end of the race. The drivers made a perfect copy that allowed us to climb on the second step of the podium just few seconds away from win.

I am proud of the work accomplished and the dedication of the entire team and the drivers. Head to Portimao where second place in the championship is still playable."

 

René BINDER : "What a comeback! The weekend in Spa started not really promising for us but we kept working hard to bring our #30 Oreca back on course to qualify fifth on the grid. In fact qualifying that was quite a challenge for me given that just before my final attack I had to watch

Nicolas Jamin's heavy shunt right in front of me. As for our fantastic race result, I just want to thank Greg (Wheeler) for a great race strategy and the entire DUQUEINE Team for their fighting spirit. And of course I also want to thank all those who kept believing in us."

 

Tristan GOMMENDY : "We just had an intense week. I am obviously very happy with this second place!

This is the culmination of a mountain of work. As we all know, this championship is probably one of the highest in the endurance world. We, I think, achieved the best result, and every force has done the best.

I would like to congratulate the entire DUQUEINE team and my teammate who did their job perfectly. Being at the wheel of the #30 Oreca for the last two stint, I had obviously the heavy task of going to get this podium. Our LMP2 and our strategy worked wonderfully.

I am already focusing on our next meeting in Portimao because I want to renew this excellent result...

We keep pushing!!"

 

Memo ROJAS : “2nd in Belgium, our best result since the start of the season... A big race for us. We were very close to win ! We continue to progress with the team. During this race, we didn't do any mistakes, either on the track or during the pit stop. I am very happy with that. It shows that the work pays off and thanks to that, today, we are in the fight for the 2nd place in the championship. See you in Portugal for the final ELMS race.”


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