The battle to be the best petrol-powered car in the Le Mans Series could hardly be more finely balanced as the 2008 season draws to a close this weekend at Silverstone. Just two points covers the top four cars in the title rankings and with Harold Primat and co-driver Christophe Tinseau lying in second, the Geneva-based driver is determined to end the season in style and claim top spot.
Harold on the petrol-car battle – “It is going to be a close call but it is an exciting and very interesting challenge that we are going to embrace with a lot of energy. Silverstone is a six hour race and we will push all the way to the chequered flag. In many ways the last round at the Nurburgring was very frustrating as without the transmission problem, which cost us so much time, a really strong result was possible. However the way we fought back from nowhere to take a point for eighth place shows just how competitive our package is and who knows how crucial that point will be at the end of the season.”
…on Silverstone – “I’ve got a lot of good memories of Silverstone from my time racing in British F3 and without doubt it is my favourite circuit in the UK. The Grand Prix lay out is so fast and provides an exhilarating challenge for the drivers but there’s also some technical sections towards the end of the lap at Priory and Luffield. Copse is my personal favourite, the speed through there is phenomenal, and if you get it right then Maggots and Becketts are awesome too.”
…on preparation for the race – “Since the Nurburgring race we’ve had tests at the Le Mans Bugatti circuit and at Dijon. The team have worked on some aero tweaks which have definitely improved the package and we have also made some improvements to the traction control and dampers. The test last week at Dijon was conducted mostly in wet conditions and that should be useful for Silverstone! The UK weather hasn’t been great recently so importantly we’ve developed a good base wet set up.”
…on the 2008 season – “Overall we’ve had a good season and made real progress since 2007. The whole package has improved and we’ve been the best fuel car for much of the year and at Le Mans. We also scored an outright podium at Monza and that achievement shouldn’t be underestimated because with two Audis and two Peugeots on the grid, and the massive advantage they have from running diesel engines, podiums have been at a premium for everybody else. We’ve had a couple of technical problems here and there which have cost us points, but generally I think everyone is happy with 2008.”
…on the target for Silverstone – “We need to stay error-free and not have any problems with the car’s reliability but with the work the team did at the last two tests I am very confident. It is difficult to make predictions for a six hour race but we know that we have to score points to win the petrol class. The Charouz Racing Lola Aston Martin was very strong at the Nurburgring, but they have had some reliability issues at other races and so there is no reason why we can’t overhaul them in the standings. From a personal perspective I’m going to qualify the car and start the race. It is a high responsibility but that is why I’m here. As always we want to finish the season on a high not only for the team but also for all our partners who have supported us in 2008.”