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[22-07-2018]
PIERRE RAGUES SCORES FANTASTIC PODIUM IN 4H RED BULL RING Photo News
Pierre Ragues and the Duqueine Engineering team have finished today’s 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring in Austria with a sensational second place, their second podium result of the 2018 European Le Mans Series (ELMS).
 
Second place cements Pierre’s best finish of the championship so far, one better than the third place scored at Le Castellet in the season-opening round back in April. As a result of a strong Sunday, Pierre and his team-mates Nicolas Jamin and Nelson Panciatici move up to fourth in the drivers’ standings on 41 points, the same total that sees Duqueine Engineering move to third in the team’s classification. 
 
Jamin was on qualifying duties on Saturday afternoon. The Frenchman used a single set of tyres compared to the pole setter’s two sets and missed out on pole by a mere 19-thousandths-of-a-second.  
 
Pierre started the race from second on the grid and was on stunning form, establishing a commanding lead of the race from the outset. The French ace was quickest on track in dry conditions and set a high benchmark.
 
Controlling the race, the Caen-born racer had to start negotiating GT car traffic after twenty minutes while building his advantage over a competitive LMP2 field. A Full Course Yellow was the only disruption in the opening quarter of the race as Pierre handed over to team-mate Nicolas Jamin after 48 laps of the 4.138km Red Bull Ring track.  
 
Following Pierre’s fantastic double stint in the #29 Oreca 07 LMP2 car, Jamin had a 20-second lead over the chasing pack. An equally strong drive resulted in the team extending its advantage to 38 seconds before a safety car period at the halfway mark, which reduced the gap.
 
Still leading, Jamin passed the reins over to Nelson Panciatici as rain started to fall into the final 1h20. With damp sections particularly on the main straight, it was a tough call to remain on slicks but, as the track then dried out, it proved to be correct. 
 
The battle for the lead was intense and the decisive moments occurred with pit stop timing. A final FCY played against the Duqueine squad, who lost time in the pits comparative to the G-Drive team. Panciatici had to relinquish the lead to the G-Drive car, but expertly fended off the Racing Engineering Oreca to claim a hard-fought, and brilliant, second place. 
 
It was the culmination of a strong weekend for the team, who had shown the pace of its drivers and car package in free practice and qualifying, and in the dry and wet conditions that prevailed in Austria over the weekend.
 
Pierre Ragues commented: “Our target for this weekend was to return to the podium and we have certainly been able to do that in style today. The car was perfect, the Michelin tyres worked well, and the entire car crew was on top form to score our best result of the season so far. Starting from second on the grid, I was able to move into the lead and I felt completely comfortable on my double stint. I was pleased with my pace and performance. Nico and Nelson did a fantastic job to keep us in contention for victory. Everything came down to the final pit stops, which were unfortunately timed for us, and we had no option but to concede to G-Drive who had a great recovery race. We are still delighted to take second and move up the championship table as a result. I’d like to say thanks to my team-mates and everyone in the team, including my partners at GroupAuto, Yacco, Sparco and Ellip6 for their support. We can now prepare for the next round at Silverstone, knowing we are capable to taking victories this season.” 
 
LMP2 Teams’ Standings (after Red Bull Ring)
1. G-Drive Racing 62
2. Racing Engineering 50
3. Duqueine Engineering 41
 
LMP2 Drivers’ Standings (after Red Bull Ring)
1. Andrea Pizzitola / Roman Rusinov 62
2. Jean-Eric Vergne 50
3.     Norman Nato / Olivier Pla / Paul Petit 50
4. Pierre Ragues / Nelson Panciatici / Nicolas Jamin 41