KCMG enjoy promising first day at Le Mans

KCMG enjoy promising first day at Le Mans

16.06.2016: • Reigning LMP2 champions set the fastest time in Wednesday’s practice

•    Reigning LMP2 champions set the fastest time in Wednesday’s practice

•    The #47 ORECA-05 Nissan also showed potential in first qualifying •   

KC Motorgroup Ltd. (KCMG) kick-started the defence of their LMP2 24 Hours of Le Mans title in the best possible way, after they set the pace during practice on Wednesday (June 15).

A late flier on a drying track from Richard Bradley, who was part of the winning team last year, put the #47 ORECA-05 Nissan on top of the timesheets with a 3:39.133 effort around the 13.629 kilometre circuit.

Matthew Howson, who raced alongside Bradley in 2015, and Tsugio Matsuda also ran during the rain-affected four-hour session. The drivers didn’t put a wheel wrong despite the changeable conditions and were able to collect valuable data for the team.

For the first official outing since the end of last season’s FIA World Endurance Championship, the Hong Kong-based squad ended the running over five-tenths clear of their nearest challenger in the 23 strong class.

The car returned to the track as night fell for the first qualifying session and the #47 was strong straight from the off, setting the second fastest time in the early stages.

As the track improved the team put on a fresh set of Dunlop tyres to try and set a banker lap, but their effort was thwarted by a number of yellow flags as well as heavy traffic.

The outfit still managed to finish ninth after the incident-packed two hours and will now concentrate on getting the car ready for Thursday’s (June 16) final two qualifying runs, where they will look to fine tune the #47 ORECA-05 Nissan and improve their grid position.

Tsugio Matsuda: "
I’m very pleased that the team started the week strong by finishing the first free practice session here at Le Mans in P1.

The conditions were tricky but we managed to get the outcome that we were aiming for. We will try our best to come away with the same positive result during the qualifying sessions and ultimately, start from pole position on Saturday.”

Matt Howson:
“The car felt great and the team performed really well. There’s a fresh engine in it so it was a little bit of a test programme as well, but the rain interrupted a little bit of that.

We’re thinking more about the race now, you do need to be somewhere near the front, but it’s the race set-up that’s important. We will take a look at what we can do better as the car’s more than capable of being in the top three or four.”

Richard Bradle
y: “P1 in practice was great! Start as you mean to go on. It’s a good opening day, but now we’ve got to keep working.

Our lap time in the first qualifying was with old tyres and I’m 100 per cent sure that we can do better in the next two sessions.

Pole position is still possible of course, but you also have to remember that qualifying doesn’t mean so much here so I’m happy with everything so far.“

Le Mans 24 Hour calendar of events

Thursday 16th June: Qualifying practice from 19:00 to 21:00, and from 22:00 to 00:00

Friday 17th June: Drivers’ Parade from 17:30 to 19:00

Saturday 18th June: Warm up at 09:00, start of 84th Le Mans 24 Hours at 15:00, local time

Sunday 19th June: Finish of 84th Le Mans 24 Hours, podium celebrations

- ANthony Peacock  photo Jakob Ebrey

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/kcmg-first-day-le-mans-oreca-nissan---150678.html

16.06.2016 / MaP

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