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HomeNewsRacePulling off a coup in Baku!

Pulling off a coup in Baku!

Posted 30 Oct, 2012 by in Race1
Pulling off a coup in Baku!

In just a month Hexis Racing has travelled to England, Spain and Azerbaijan with its McLaren MP4-12Cs. At Donington the team finished the season on a high note in the FIA GT1 World Championship. At Navarra the French squad wanted to prove it could show that its sprint know-how could be transferred to endurance. Finally, the first City Challenge was another tough nut to crack on a city circuit with an innovative race format. Three very different events with the same outcome – victory!

To add spice to it all the City Challenge regulations in Baku obliged the engineers and technicians of the team to adapt the cars to a third tyre manufacturer and a new balance of performance. After Pirellis in the world championship, Michelins in the Blancpain Endurance Series, the McLarens had to get the hang of Hankook rubber! To try and find the right balance between the 24 entries the organizers used the ADAC GT Masters’ regulations (German GT Championship).

These various constraints did not worry the team, which was always one step ahead of its rivals from free practice till the finish of the race. Hexis, though, was up against quality opposition including three Vita4One BMW Z4s, two Vita4One Italy Ferrari F458s, as many Muehlner Porsches, and the Heico Motorsport Mercedes-Benz.

Each driver had a qualifying session, then a sprint race of 30 minutes after which he joined up with his team-mate for the final 60-minute event. Frédéric Makowiecki set pole in his group 18/1000secs quicker than Sean Edwards in his Porsche. Rob Bell, the McLaren works driver in the other Hexis Racing MP4-12C who had come to beef up the driver squad for this meeting, was fourth quickest. The result of the second session was the same with Stef Dusseldorp fastest while Alvaro Parente was fourth despite hitting the wall.

In the first sprint, Fred Makowiecki managed to hold off Sean Edwards till the flag and Rob Bell finished third. At the start of the second sprint Parente got up into second place on the exit from the first chicane just in front of Dusseldorp. There were no changes in the positions when a Corvette crashed in the eighteenth minute bringing the proceedings to a halt. When the points were added up Makowiecki and Dusseldorp were on pole for the final event. The no. 17 McLaren cruised home to victory and it could have been a double for Hexis Racing had a gearbox problem not ended no. 18’s race when it was lying second.

This year, Hexis Racing has showed that it can cope with various kinds of formats, and that it can also win in the heart of the cradle of motor sport on a legendary circuit like Donington, as well as in a part of the world where motor racing is still relatively underdeveloped or in its infancy like Moscow and Baku. Team manager, Philippe Dumas, gives us his viewpoint of the amazing experience that his team lived through in Azerbaijan. “With three different tyre manufacturers and three balances of performance, we delivered the goods with the satisfaction of giving the McLaren GT a precious maiden victory on each occasion. I believe there are certain explanations for the results we’ve achieved. They include a team that’s been working together for a long time, fantastic drivers, an irreproachable team spirit, a competitive car and also a team manager who hasn’t done a bad job! Jacques Villeneuve said we were a great team, and it’s always nice to be congratulated by a former F1 world champion. We set off to put on a show in the streets of Baku, but it didn’t really work out like that. The overall level of competition of the drivers, cars and teams present was very high. A quick look at the times in qualifying is enough to prove what I’ve just said. This weekend we were delighted to welcome Rob Bell. He’s a real professional, meticulous, calm, quite perfect in fact. A big thank you too to the organizer of the City Challenge for this amazing experience. I’ve believed in the idea since the start and I’m even more convinced now that I’ve lived it from the inside.”

Now is the right time to look to the future and next season. “The team’s going to have a rest and concerning the future we’re examining all the possible avenues. Because of the disastrous economic situation we’re not quite as sound as many seem to think. If Hexis Racing continues, the main sporting challenge, while remaining in the Sprint Series at the top level, would be to beat Audi in the Spa 24 Hours with McLaren. That’s really what I would like to do.”

One Response

  1. sjfsdnfNovember 17, 2012 at 5 h 34 min 

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