Eastern Adventure Awaits OAK Racing In Bahrain
By Mel Fabrikant Monday, September 24, 2012, 10:11 AM EDT
The 6 Hours of Bahrain – round six of this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship – takes place amongst the desert dunes of Sakhir’s international circuit this Saturday (September 29) when OAK Racing and its pair of Morgan-Nissan 2012 LMP2s will be hoping to improve on their podium finish from last time out.
As always the team’s Onroak Automotive designed and built #24 machine will be crewed by Jacques Nicolet, Matthieu Lahaye and Olivier Pla who collectively scored their second podium of the season in Brazil eight days ago. On the other side of the garage, regular drivers Bertrand Baguette and Dominik Kraihamer will again share the #35 sister car with Alex Brundle following his impressive debut at Interlagos.
Not only will this be the French squad’s maiden appearance in Bahrain but also the first time that it has raced anywhere in the Middle East. Of its driver line-up, only Pla has any previous experience of the circuit having driven there in 2005 as part of the GP2 Series.
With daytime air temperatures expected to hit 40 degrees Celsius, the 28 WEC entries will take the start at 16:00 local time on Saturday and race into the night. Indeed, the heat will be a crucial factor for everyone to deal with.
Sébastien Philippe, OAK Racing Team Principal: “We are very excited to be discovering a new, prestigious circuit. The layout should be well suited to our Morgans while the three straights that come one after another on this layout allow us to exploit our top-end speed. The two crews are very competitive and Alex Brundle, who is making his second appearance with the team, will be even more at ease behind the wheel of #35. Hopefully we can count on a bit more luck than at the previous races and better our podium from Sao Paulo.”
Olivier Pla, #24 Morgan 2012 LMP2: “Sakhir is a very specific circuit in the middle of the desert, surrounded by sand. Having good acceleration when exiting the slower corners is very important and requires a car with excellent traction. Finding the right balance and a set-up that works under braking as well as during the acceleration phase will be crucial. In addition, the heat will be a difficult factor to deal with for us drivers, the tyres and car itself. But the layout should suit the Morgan well. In any case, and considering our performances regardless of the circuit this year, we are heading there aiming to win. A bit of luck and the result should follow.”
6 Hours of Bahrain schedule
Thursday 27 September:
16:00 – 17:30: Free Practice 1
20:30 – 22:00: Free Practice 2
Friday 28 September:
10:50 – 11:50: Free Practice 3
16:30 – 16:50: LMP1 & LMP2 Qualifying
Saturday 29 September:
12:25 – 12:45: Warm-up
16:00 – 22:00: Race