HEXIS AMR: Up to fourth place in the World Championship

Monday, September 13, 2010

HEXIS AMR up to fourth place in the World Championship

The two HEXIS AMR Aston Martin DBR9s emulated their Spa performance a month earlier by scoring points in the FIA GT1 World Championship on the Nürburgring circuit, and edging closer to the podium. No. 10 driven by Clivio Piccione and Jonathan Hirschi finished fourth after their fifth place in the qualifying race. The young guns were involved in a no-holds-barred battle that led to some very spectacular scraps and thrilling overtaking manoeuvres. The spectators present at the foot of the Eifel Massif and those in front of their TV screens had no time to be bored. Fred Makowiecki and new boy, Yann Clairay, also had a good race, bagging seventh place after a sensational climb back up through the field due to their early retirement in Saturday's race.

Besides the drivers' skills and the right technical choices, the fantastic job done in the pits by the squad also played a major part in obtaining these good results that have propelled HEXIS AMR from sixth to fourth place in the world rankings! The whole team's morale is at an all-time high as the important Portimao round approaches. In Portugal, the Aston Martin DBRS9 GT3s will join their bigger sisters from the GT1 category as the European Championship restarts. So it is just the right moment to take stock of the situation with the French team's managers, Philippe Dumas and Clément Mateu, and the Hexis Group CEO, Michel Mateu, HEXIS AMR's no. 1 fan!

Philippe Dumas (team manager): "How many French teams are there in the three FIA World Championships on circuits apart from Renault in F1 and ourselves?"

"In GT1, we're continuing to progress. We now have two reliable and stable driver line-ups and we're becoming a force to be reckoned with. The four drivers all did a great job at the Nürburgring, and I've got every confidence in them for the last four rounds. We stayed on on Monday after the race for a test session, which is important in the context of a world championship where the overall level of the drivers is incredibly high as we saw in qualifying and in the battles in the race. The test went off very well even if we'd have preferred a dry track. Given the end-of-season calendar (Portugal, Spain, Brazil and Argentina) we probably won't have much rain. We've got as many technical shortcomings in the wet as in the dry. If we manage to overcome our issues in the dry we can look forward to a great end to the season. We saw some thrilling closely-fought races at the Nürburgring, but I don't think it's necessary to make contact with your rivals to overtake. It just costs too much money and it's not worthy of a world championship with FIA status. I'd also like to remind everybody about something important. The GT1 World Championship has enormous potential that should be relayed by the media and above all, television. I don't find it normal that our French weekly ?bible' gives it only two pages. I'd also like our Federation to give us more support as we're the only French team racing at this level. How many others are there in the other FIA World Championships? We're working very hard to build the future of our team in the medium term. We need more clarity about what's going to happen, but our aim is to continue next year in the FIA GT1 World Championship with our two Aston Martin DBR9s with victory as our ultimate objective. In parallel, we'd like to become involved with a manufacturer in the development of a new GT3. Those are two great perspectives. Concerning GT3, don't forget that we're the reigning European Champions. This year hasn't been easy, but we've still got two meetings left and we'll do our very best. Portimao is the circuit on which we were the most competitive in 2009 as we've done a lot of testing there. But it's paradoxical as we lost the drivers' title and probably the double there due to technical issues. A few podiums would do us a power of good!"

Clément Mateu (chief development engineer) "We have to continue in the same vein"

"The whole team's doing a great job. We're on the pace but things can become difficult very quickly. The blue Aston Martin's result (no. 10) at the Nürburgring is important for the young guns (Jonathan Hirschi and Clivio Piccione) for their confidence in themselves and in the car. We can finish in the top three in the championship, but we can also fall back as the level is incredibly high so we have to continue in the same vein. But it's really great when everything falls into place, and your heart starts beating like a drum, as was the case this weekend in Germany!"

Michel Mateu (CEO Hexis Group): "Passion and work are irreplaceable"

"Fred Mako did a really great job by bagging the fastest time in Q1 and the two young drivers didn't do too badly either in both practice and the warm-up. Yann got to grips with the Aston, which isn't an easy beast to tame, very quickly. Unfortunately, it all went wrong for him at the start of the qualifying race, which dropped the no. 9 car back to the second-last row. But Fred's comeback thrilled us all, and for the young guns in the no. 10 it was a gladiator battle to hold on to fourth place. It was very hairy out there! They came out of it well as they were up against some pretty experienced drivers. We must take off our hats to the team of mechanics who dominated their rivals during the pit stops. It was an incredible feat and they really put their heart into it. That's what enabled Jonathan to rejoin in second place, but he was on cold tyres so he wasn't able to close the door. If he'd fought back he'd surely have gone off but he used his intelligence like Yann in the other car. I'm a very happy president to see our colours shining like they did today in fourth place in the world championship. I'd also like to congratulate Philippe Dumas; it's really incredible what he manages to do with the means at his disposals, which are far smaller than the investment made by some of the other teams, so it just goes to show that money isn't everything. But work and passion can't be replaced. Concerning the championship, I'm delighted to see that Stéphane Ratel managed to persuade Jean Todt to come here: it's a positive point. I think that the people involved are increasingly interested, as shown by the announcement of the arrival of new manufacturers."
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes