[The month of April marks the start of the French mountain championship season, which is already shaping up to be an exciting one. Bagnols/Sabran and the Col St Pierre have already passed and the results are more than satisfactory! Nicolas Schatz comments on his first two races.
Race of Bagnols/Sabran :Practice: We get into the thick of things in practice. The track of Bagnols is difficult: a technical track with low walls and a bumpy asphalt. So I started cautiously, even quite cautiously because I started under-revving... Despite this I achieved the best performance. After having adjusted some settings on the LOLA, I started concentrated during the second one: very good sensations, the car behaves well and I realize a time of XXX. I finished these tests in front of Alban THOMAS and Sébastien PETIT.
Race: I put on 4 new tyres (like my competitors). I have a nice climb, but I make some slips. I take the lead of the race with a time of 1'25''540 . During the second race, I am stopped at the red flag after one kilometre. So I went to the start line with medium clean tyres. I took off very well, the corners followed each other and I applied myself. The car reacts as I want it to, I really enjoy driving it. At the finish, I was satisfied with my climb and the reward was not long in coming: the display showed my time of 1'24''225, the new track record. At this moment, I know that I have put a serious option on the victory. I tried to ride at a steady pace while preserving my tyres for the coming races. I tried to drive a strong pace and to preserve my tyres for the next races. I finished in style as I set the best time of the race. Otherwise Alban THOMAS, second all weekend, was passed by Sébastien PETIT in the last race.
Conclusion: Perfect race. By achieving the best time of all the heats with the new record of the track, I could hardly do better. This result is the reward for all the work done by the team since this winter, it is also a great reward for my partners who trust me. Thank you to them, thank you to you.
Col St Pierre race:
Second round of the French Mountain Championship, the Col St Pierre race is also for the first time registered in the European Mountain Championship. A splendid line-up of cars and an unusual route attracted a large number of spectators.
Having set the track record last year, I started with a known set-up and from the outset the car gave me complete satisfaction. I set the two best times of the two practice heats. I even beat Simone FAGGIOLLI who drives an OSELLA much more powerful than our French F3000 (it respects a specific European regulation). I learn afterwards that he crosses the finish line at half speed...
Another specificity of the European Championship is that the final classification is based on the addition of the two best times. This means that we have to do at least two very good climbs. During the morning round, I knew that the track was going to be "good", so I couldn't miss out. So I concentrated, I attacked while trying not to make a mistake that could make the end of the race complicated. After 5km of adrenaline, I achieved the best "French championship" time with a large lead over Alban THOMAS and Sébastien PETIT. The second run is typically not favourable to improvements as it is very hot. So I set off at a steady pace while exploiting the grip available in these conditions. I still achieve the best performance of the French and increase my lead. I approach the last race with more serenity but the race is not over yet. So I go on the attack, the turns follow one another and the fast curves follow one another. At the end of a maximum pleasure climb, I achieve my best performance of the weekend and at the same time, I put the nail in the coffin. Otherwise during this last round, Sébastien PETIT snatched second place from Alban THOMAS who finished third. Simone FAGGIOLI won the European Championship round, logically beating the track record.
Conclusion: Perfect race with the best times of all the "French Championship" rounds. The car was satisfactory, I had a lot of fun driving and the team did a great job during the whole weekend.