Hexis Racing clinches runner-up double in Europe!

Hexis Racing clinches runner-up double in Europe!

07.01.2009: Hexis Racing wrapped up what can only be described as a splendid 2008 campaign with a superb second place finish in the last race in Dubai, where the favourites were out in force, clinching 2nd spot in the European FIA GT3 Championship in the process.

Hexis Racing  FIA GT3 European Championship review

Hexis Racing wrapped up what can only be described as a splendid 2008 campaign with a superb second place finish in the last race in Dubai, where the favourites were out in force, clinching 2nd spot in the European FIA GT3 Championship in the process. With their performance in Dubai, youngsters Thomas Accary and Pierre-Brice Mena both moved up a spot in the drivers' standings to finish the season, like their team, as European vice-champions!

2008 highlights

Hexis Racing, Team European Vice-champion

The French team's Aston Martins lined up this season with the likes of Porsche, Ferrari, Morgan, Jaguar, Dodge, Ascari, Lamborghini, Ford and Corvette. It soon became clear that the Ford GTs and Corvette Z06s were a notch above the rest of the field in terms of performance.

So Hexis Racing can be proud of having blooded its DBRS9 cars in the arena as the titans of America fought for supremacy and what's more to have disturbed the natural order by knocking one of them off the No. 2 spot!

Mena/Accary, Drivers European championship runners-up

In the drivers' championship, the same players took the Top 3 placings but this time in the reverse order, with Hexis Racing's rookie pairing coming home behind the best Corvette but ahead of all the Ford GT crews, despite the latter having convincing arguments, both in terms of speed and experience. Here too the team's prowess in coaching its way to success paid dividends, as its young drivers moved rapidly from being outsiders to regulars on the podium. In fact, they were European title contenders right up to the final lap of the last race!

Best of the Aston Martins, 9 times out of 11..

Two teams were competing with Aston Martins this season. Except in two instances, the best-placed DBRS9 was always one in Hexis Racing livery, and all three crews shared this honour at least once in the season. Pierre-Brice Mena and Thomas Accary lifted the Aston Martin Manufacturers Cup.

They were ex-aqueo on points with Fred Makowiecki and Jean-Claude Lagniez, but came out on top because they notched more victories than their team-mates. Julien and Manu Rodrigues came next, ahead of Italian team Brixia Racing's crews.

A stable, close-knit team

Hexis Racing is also to be congratulated on keeping the same six drivers together for the entire season, which is more than can be said for some other teams! This driver loyalty extends over more than one season, as Jean-Claude Lagniez, Frédéric Makowiecki, Julien and Manu Rodrigues, were already there in 2007.

It all adds up

In six meetings and eleven races, Hexis Racing clocked the fastest time in open practice on no fewer than seven occasions, qualified six times on the front row of the grid, including two poles, and won points on thirteen different occasions, with five podiums (one race win as well as four second place finishes).

Europe success builds on that in Germany

The team's successes in the European Championship should not make us forget the team's 3rd place in the final ADAC GT Masters team standings. If we include the team's harvest of trophies from the German championship, which was uncharted territory for the team, the statistics for the 2008 season tot up to 10 podiums with two outright victories and four pole positions.

Racing in both the German and European competitions was a significant challenge, but it has given Hexis a true international dimension.

Clément and Philippe's verdict…

On their return from Dubai, the Hexis Racing managers gave us their final verdict on the meeting and the season as a whole…

Clément Mateu (development manager): "Up until Nogaro, which we came to after the final round of the German championship, the momentum in the team was palpable, and we stood to either win or lose a lot in the final two European rounds. We had a few doubts going into Nogaro regarding the performance of our cars, but they all went incredibly well. In Dubai it was rather the reverse that happened.

We were competitive, but coming on the back of Nogaro and given our achievements on this track in 2007, there’s no point hiding we were hoping to do rather better. Of course all the teams were well prepared for this final, notably the Corvettes and Ford GTs. What I retain from our season, is that all our drivers played their part in achieving our fine runners-up team result. Both in Germany and Europe, they took it in turns to provide the thrills.

 Our results are the reward for a great all-round team effort, from drivers, mechanics, race engineers, not forgetting our team manager, of course, or the sponsors and technical partners who have supported us throughout the year. In 2009 we have to turn all this into success on the track.

We need to further improve on both the human and engineering fronts, to be ever more professional. We are going to do everything we can to strengthen our ties with the people from Prodrive (editor's note: who build the competition Aston Martins) so that we have higher performance, more reliability and improved drivability."

Philippe Dumas (team-manager): "This year’s FIA GT3 racing was a lot more competitive than in 2007. The final provided some superb racing in Dubai with all the championship leaders filling the top places. We were well worthy of our European No. 2 crown as in the end we hold a comfortable margin over our pursuers. Our rookies were lying third going into the Dubai meeting and they came away second.

We have two crews in the final Top 10. Naturally, we dropped a few points along the way but I think overall this season we could hardly have hoped for more considering the competition we were up against. Thomas Accary and Pierre-Brice Mena were total newcomers to GT racing when they started a few months ago, so their success is all the more rewarding for us.

 They had no technical problems to contend with. Frédéric Makowiecki and Jean-Claude Lagniez, however, were not so lucky, and they also suffered on several occasions when the safety car came out. Not to mention the torrential rain that led to the cancellation of Race 2 in Dubai, after Fred - for the fourth time this season - had qualified for the front row of the grid. Julien and Manu Rodrigues made good progress compared with 2007.

From Oschersleben onwards they were regularly in the running to make it into the Top 8. They had their fair share of bad luck as well, but were nevertheless in the points on three occasions. Our goal is to come back stronger to do even better in 2009."

News from the past and the future-- Like Hexis Racing, Côme comes good

Throughout the year Hexis Racing has been keeping a close eye on young Côme Ledogar's motor racing debut. Winner of an Auto Hebdo-Automobile Club de l'Ouest Scholarship prize, Côme has been driving in the Formul’Academy Euro Series. He also worked as a mechanic for Hexis Racing whenever his school and racing commitments allowed.

Comparing Côme's progress with that of Hexis Racing we can see that they both followed an upward curve and finished the season in the runner-up spot! At the beginning of October, the parallel was even more striking. Côme won Race 1 and finished Race 2 in 4th place, while Hexis Racing got precisely the same result at the same time in Nogaro! Côme went into the final round with 2nd place on the final podium firmly in his sights.

He didn't hang around at Snetterton, winning both races. "He made them all sick" said Philippe Dumas who, with his connoisseur’s eye, was delighted to witness his protégé doing so well on British soil.

It's prize-giving time

The closed season is the time for the winners to pick up their prizes. Hexis Racing received its award at a ceremony organised in Monaco on December 13th by SRO, promoters of the FIA GT3 European Championship.

-  Romain Didier / future racing commm- also photo

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/fiagt-hexis-racing-europe-thomas-accary-pierre-brice-mena-aston-martin-drivers---54271.html

07.01.2009 / MaP

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