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[10-04-2018]
PIERRE RAGUES READY TO RACE AFTER PRODUCTIVE PROLOGUE AT LE CASTELLET Photo News
Pierre Ragues has completed a highly productive Prologue at Circuit Paul Ricard ahead of his first race for the Duqueine Engineering team at Le Castellet this weekend. 
 
A two-day session, held in preparation for the opening round of the 2018 European Le Mans Series, helped the French racer get to grips with the Oreca 07 car which he will share with Nelson Panciatici and Nicolas Jamin this year. 
 
On a dry Monday in the south of France, the team completed a total of 119 laps of the 5.861km track during the day, registering the sixth fastest time. A further 24 laps were added to their total during a special two-hour night session.
 
Tuesday’s weather brought regular rain showers making for mixed track conditions. Nevertheless, Pierre and the team completed 50 laps during the morning session as the track dried out. The rain returned for the final session in the afternoon, as the team completed a further 22 laps, bringing their total for the test to 215, and ending up in fourth position. 
 
The Prologue has allowed the team to prepare their Michelin equipped LMP2 car for the first round of the ELMS which takes place on Sunday. They have also practiced pit stops. Pierre and his teammates will have a further three hours of free practice ahead of Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session. 
 
For Pierre, this season represents a return to the series in which he was crowned champion in 2013. Five years on, and the target will be to compete at the sharp end of the competitive LMP2 class in each of the six ELMS rounds. A total of 19 LMP2 teams are on the Le Castellet entry list, offering a highly competitive contest this weekend. 
 
Pierre will continue to receive highly valued support from GroupAuto, Yacco, Spaco and Ellip6 as he extends his impressive endurance career. 
 
Pierre commented: “We have had a very productive Prologue and it has been a valuable two days getting acquainted with the Duqueine Engineering team, the Oreca 07 car and working with my team-mates. Of course, I know Nelson very well from our ELMS championship-winning season in 2013, and it has been great to work alongside Nicolas as well. We have completed a lot of laps in mixed weather conditions, and I now feel well prepared for this weekend’s opening race, the 4 Hours of Le Castellet. As a familiar track to everyone, and a very competitive line-up, we expect it to be a tough and exciting battle. With thanks to my personal partners, I am looking forward to another great season in endurance racing, and hopefully a winning one.”   
 
4 Hours of Le Castellet Schedule
 
Friday 13 April 
11:15-12:45 Free Practice 1
 
Saturday 14 April
09:15-10:45 Free Practice 2
14:20-14:30 LMP2 Qualifying
 
Sunday 15 April 
12:00-16:00 4 Hours of Le Castellet