Vanina Ickx : The ABCs of Budapest...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teamed with Pierre Ragues and Franck Mailleux at the Hungaroring, the Belgian driver reached the podium for the second straight time at the wheel of the Team Signature-Plus Lola-Aston Martin.

After finishing third at the 1000km of Algarve, Vanina Ickx once again found herself on the LMP1 podium of the 1000km of Hungaroring, the fourth round of the Le Mans Series. After starting from the back of the grid, as it's required by the sporting regulations when changing tyres after qualifying, Vanina worked her way up the field to fifth place overall during her stint in the Lola- Aston Martin. The Signature-Plus Team was continuing its run in second place when they encountered a problem with the alternator. However, after hard work from the mechanics and stints from Pierre Ragues and Franck Mailleux, the Bourges-based team was able to reach third place in the LMP1 category - an important result for the championship. Discover Vanina's weekend with her ABCs from Budapest.

B like... Budapest:
"First of all, I'd like to say that Budapest's reputation for having pretty women is overrated (laughs)! Seriously though, it's a magnificent city. It's simply monumental with its palace, castle and the like. As for the track, it was pretty good to me. I won't critisize it, even if it's hard work to run on such a narrow track."

U like... Unity:
"Team and drivers, we are one. Whatever happens, on or off the track, we are linked. Each individual is important. Sometimes it's the driver who makes the error, sometimes it's the mechanical side of things that don't go as planned. After the alternator problem, no one lowered their head. And we did well to keep fighting since we garnered precious points as a result."

D like... Disappointment:
"The overall result (23rd) doesn't reflect our performance level, or our hard work. Before the race, we weren't necessarily hoping to run so well: the LMP2 cars are competitive on this track. But during the event, we said: it's good, we can do it, we have the potential to do even better than at Portimao."

A like... Atmosphere:
"It's so much fun to drive in these conditions and to be part of a team like this one. It's a great atmosphere and was so during the entire weekend. I had a lot of fun!"

P like... Podium:
"It's always important to be on the podium, especially since this third place in LMP1 puts the team in second place in the championship. It's "funny" to know that we can still mathematically be champions. Even though we know that it will be a hard fight at Silverstone. On the other hand, honestly, we aren't as proud of this podium as we were at Portimao. But I'm happy nonetheless (laughs)!"

E like... Experience:
"Each time in the car yields more experience. It's an experience that counts since we don't run much or at all in between races. This track is so specific and unique that it taught me a lot about the handling of the Lola-Aston Martin. It changes from the usual, less twisty tracks. The differences in downforce, the weight transfer...I hope to have decoded the car's character!"

S like... Start:
"It's the first time that I've taken the start with the Lola- Aston Martin. I nearly fell out of my seat when they told me! It's a vote of confidence from the team and I'm glad to have completed the mission bringing the car up to fifth place. Also, this view of the pack was rather nice...(smiles)"

T like... Traffic:
"It's the word that characterises the Hungaroring and even the race of this weekend. I encountered a lot during my stint and I had been well briefed: take no risk, even if you lose a little time. You have to be decisive: When it's time to go, it's time to go. There were a few close moments, most notably with the GTs. The fight is so intense in that category that they move in groupes."

The next round will be at Silverstone, 10-12 September.
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