Ragues and Mailleux ready for Le Mans Series encounter at Barcelona

Ragues and Mailleux ready for Le Mans Series encounter at Barcelona

02.04.2009: The Signature team line-up of Mailleux and Ragues, seen here testing at Paul Ricard, is looking forward to this weekend's opening race at Barcelona The all-French Signature Team line-up of Franck Mailleux and Pierre Ragues

The Signature team line-up of Mailleux and Ragues, seen here testing at Paul Ricard, is looking forward to this weekend's opening race at Barcelona

The all-French Signature Team line-up of Franck Mailleux and Pierre Ragues is ready and eager for the first Le Mans Series race of the 2009 season at Barcelona this weekend, at the wheel of their Courage-Judd LMP1 prototype.

For the Signature team, which has been a reference in single-seater racing for many years, endurance racing is a new adventure. Yet following some successful tests in France with its ambitious squad of young drivers - both of whom are managed by Quadra Sports - the team is eagerly anticipating the first round of the season.

The Barcelona circuit is a well-known venue for Formula 1 testing and is also the home of the Spanish Grand Prix. The track's challenging characteristics, featuring a number of highly-technical corners, ensure that it pushes both drivers and cars to the limit: perfectly encapsulating the spirit of the Le Mans Series.

The opening Le Mans Series race of this year will comprise 1000 kilometres of the Catalunya circuit, lasting six hours and more than 200 laps. With strong opposition against official manufacturer teams, Ragues and Mailleux have their work cut out. For both of them it is a big step into the unknown. Whilst Ragues enjoyed a successful LMP2 campaign last year, this is his first race in the top category. Mailleux meanwhile comes from an impressive single-seater background and is making his debut in endurance events.

Nonetheless, both drivers have shone in pre-event testing, setting times not far off those of the established frontrunners. With a full season of five Le Mans Series races ahead of them, plus the epic 24 Hours of La Sarthe, Ragues and Mailleux are keen to capitalise on the experience that the demanding Circuit de Catalunya will undoubtedly give them.

Ragues commented:
"After so much anticipation, we're all relieved that the waiting is finally over. Now we get the chance to show our potential in the first race of the season. While testing has gone very well, racing is another matter entirely. I think it would be foolish to make any predictions - other than the fact that we are all going to try our best to emphasise the competitiveness of our overall package, both in terms of speed and reliability."

Mailleux - a race winner in the Formula 3 Euroseries last year - added
: "Barcelona is a very demanding track where you have to get everything right: particularly the critical braking areas. Although I've had a lot to learn in a short space of time, I feel confident that we can set some good lap times and do well; particularly judging from our pace in testing."

Following the qualifying session on Saturday, the Signature team will take the start of this epic event at 11:30 on Sunday. The winner will be announced at about 17:30, after an intense half-day of memorable on-track action in Spain.

For more information    www.quadrasports.com

- PRI - also photo

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/le-mans-series-barcelona-ragues-didier-mailleux-franck-courage-judd-lmp1---61006.html

02.04.2009 / MaP

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