Before its return to the competition in France with the GT Tour at the beginning of September, the Sébastien Loeb Racing came back to the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup for the third time this season, last weekend, in Spa. With three Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, the Alsace-based team met its goals on the whole, that is to say garnering as much experience as possible and proving its capacities in the most difficult one-make category. Though he did not realise his potential, Maxime Jousse performed very well throughout the entire event, racing within the Top 5 and finishing as the first French driver on the rankings.
For its debut in this series, Joffrey De Narda kept on overtaking and ended up in the Top 20. As for Roar Lindland, he also achieved an interesting performance, constantly progressing still.
“Even though the final result does not reflect the performances of our three drivers, the outcome is still very positive this weekend” says Franck Tiné, Sporting Director. “Once again we have learnt a lot and we have showed that we are able to compete against the leaders of this series. Maxime has proved that he is one of the top-drivers in Porsche cups and without any race incident he could have definitely ended up within the Top 5. Joffrey’s debut was very good. He went through each step, one after the other, and achieved some interesting lap times during the race. He has really gone up a level. Roar has always been very positive, right from the outset. He continues to make progress now. Also, the team did a very good job technically wise. All those elements bode well for the rest of the season.”
Quickly on the pace, Maxime Jousse was in the Top 10 after the free practice sessions and set the sixth time in the qualifying. The French driver was not totally satisfied with this good performance and wanted more: It seemed clear that the first place on the grid was within reach. On the other hand, Joffrey De Narda was making its first steps in Supercup. Arrived 23rd in the free practice sessions, he picked up some momentum and placed himself on the 20th position on the grid, with a promising time gap between him and some of the frequent contenders of the Supercup. Racing in France in the B-class, Roar Lindland progressed too, going up the overall rankings from the 25th to the 23rd place.
On Sunday, the drivers of the Sébastien Loeb Racing made a good start. Occupying the sixth position when the starting lights went off, Maxime Jousse came to 4th ! As for Joffrey De Narda, he went up from the 20th to the 17th place after a couple of laps only. Roar Lindland also climbed up the hierarchy, from the 23rd to the 18th position ! But unfortunately, the two young French drivers were about to encounter some problems. Max had to deal with a contact in the very first lap which made him drop back many places. Joffrey got sent back to the 22nd position after a contact too. Combative and determined, Maxime was the first French driver when the checkered flag came out and finally ended up 11th, only three seconds away from the fourth position. Joffrey managed to come back up the rankings and concluded its first participation with an interesting 19th place. Regarding Roar, he had to face a loss of grip and finished his race at the 21st place.
“The result fails to match my initial expectations, but I feel that it ended on a positive note overall” admits Maxime Jousse. “We have proved that we have the potential to race in Supercup, at this very high level of competition. The team has worked well, we have had a very good car. Actually the qualifying proved it : 6th place, only four tenths away from the pole position and I could have been on the first row. I was unlucky during the race with a contact right from the start. It is a such a shame because I had everything otherwise to cross the finish line amongst the Top 5. We can compete against the best drivers, that is what I want to remember. It is promising for the second part of the French championship where our aim is clear and simple : to win the title.”
“My first weekend in Supercup is a very positive experience” says Joffrey De Narda. “Considering the level of this race, my performance is an interesting one, whether during the qualifying or in terms of the racing lap times. I have come here in order to learn and I have learnt a lot indeed, generally speaking but also regarding many details and little tricks… The team and ourselves have worked well. During the race, I managed to gain positions after a first contact at the rear of the car. Overtaking so many times, in a pack of very experienced and professional drivers, that is a positive thing to me. My driving has become more aggressive now. The very condensed schedule of the weekend encouraged me to make the most of my time and to be constantly as efficient as possible. Everything that was experienced in Spa will be useful in the future.”
“Spa was an interesting meeting, a good weekend to learn and develop” says Roar Lindland. “It is a fantastic track which stands as a true challenge for each driver. Once again the team came a little closer to the best contenders and together we have taken a step forward. There is still more to come and we will get there. We keep on gaining experience. Personally, I was aiming for the Top 20. I was not far from that goal during the qualifying and achieved an 18th place during the race before losing grip.”
“I have achieved my objective in terms of progression and development. And I almost fulfilled it regarding the result itself : I am getting there. It is encouraging for the future, both in the Cup France and in the Supercup.”
The Sébastien Loeb Racing will return to the Porsche Carrera Cup France in Magny-Cours (September 6th and 7th), with six Porsche 911 GT3 lined-up. The team is still competing for three titles.