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Photo News[16-06-2019]
PIERRE RAGUES AND DUQUEINE ENGINEERING SALVAGE SEVENTH AFTER EPIC COMEBACK AT LE MANS 24 HOURS [Full Article]
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[16-06-2019]
PIERRE RAGUES AND DUQUEINE ENGINEERING SALVAGE SEVENTH AFTER EPIC COMEBACK AT LE MANS 24 HOURS Photo News
French racer Pierre Ragues and the Duqueine Engineering team completed the gruelling 24 Hours of Le Mans in a commendable seventh place in the LMP2 category, after an impressive fight back.
 
The #30 Oreca 07 picked up a puncture in the opening hour of the race, leaving the team at the foot of the classification, two laps down. The driving trio of Nicolas Jamin, Romain Dumas and Pierre gave everything in their power to mount a comeback against all odds. 
 
Over the following 23 hours, they gradually improved their positions until they were fighting – at one point – for fourth in class. The final hour of the race was just as cruel as the first, though, as a broken rear-right tie-rod forced them into an unexpected trip to the pits. Despite the valiant efforts of the teams’ mechanics to fix the issue quickly, the time loss dropped them to seventh in class and 12th overall. 
 
Conditions were largely dry for the 24-hour race. Nicolas was on starting duties and did a great job to mount the initial recovery from the puncture. Handing over to Pierre after almost three hours, the crew had already re-joined the LMP2 pack. 
 
Pierre was satisfied with his triple stint, negotiating a safety car period before passing the reins to Romain Dumas after almost six hours of the race gone. The race proved to be impressively trouble-free for the team into the night hours and through the morning. Drivers took it in turns to extract performance from the Michelin-shod Oreca 07 as they moved up the order against a backdrop of occasional safety cars, full course yellows and slow zones. 
 
Pierre had a strong night shift and a further triple stint in the early morning. The team was on course to mount a fight for fourth place until they were robbed of that chance in the closing hour. Such was the impressive performance of the crews and team that the ESCRA Trophy for best technical work during the race (including pit stops) was awarded to Duqueine.
 
In total, the crew completed 363 laps of the 13.626km Circuit de la Sarthe, with 36 pit stops and a best lap of 3:28.984, quicker than some of the LMP2 podium finishing teams.
 
Pierre said: “We endured really bad luck in the first and the last hour, which almopst certainly cost us the chance of fighting for the top-four, if not the podium. The early puncture was a real blow and cost us two laps, but we pushed hard to mount a comeback. We set about doing our job quietly but with determination. By the halfway point of the race, we were already back into the top-ten of LMP2. I felt really at ease with the car for most of the race, I could set some competitive stints and we were up into the top-five. But suddenly, when it looked like we could pull off the comeback of the event, we had another issue in the final hour, a broken rear-right tie-rod, that dropped us to seventh. Looking at the positives, we had strong pace, we worked together amazingly well as a team and demonstrated real competitiveness. When you consider it was the first-ever Le Mans for Duqueine, this is really fantastic. Le Mans always delivers, it’s one of the toughest and harshest events on the calendar; it’s why we love it so much and why we are fortunate to come back each year. Overall, seventh place in a competitive LMP2 field is good, but we know we could have potentially fought for the podium were it not for a bit of bad luck. Thanks to my team-mates Nico and Romain, to everyone in Duqueine and to my partners Yacco, Ellip6 and Sparco.” 
 
2019 Le Mans 24 Hours Results

1. Toyota Gazoo Racing: Buemi/Nakajima/Alonso (P1)
2. Toyota Gazoo Racing: Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez +16.972s (P1)
3. SMP Racing: Petrov/Aleshin/Vandoorne + 6 laps (P1)
4. Rebellion Racing: Jani/Lotterer/Senna +9 laps (P1)
5. Rebellion Racing: Laurent/Berthon/Menezes +15 laps (P1)
6. Signatech Alpine Matmut: Lapierre/Negrao/Thiriet +17 laps (P2)
7. Jackie Chan DC Racing: Tung/Richelmi/Aubry +18 laps (P2)
8. TDS Racing: Perrodo/Vaxiviere/Duval +19 laps (P2)
9. United Autosports: Hanson/Albuquerque/Di Resta + 20 laps (P2)
10. IDEC Sport: Lafargue/Chatin/Rojas +21 laps (P2)
11. G-Drive Racing: Rusinov/Van Uitert/Vergne + 21 laps (P2)
12. Duqueine Engineering: Ragues/Jamin/Dumas +22 laps (P2)