Former F1 and Peugeot Sport driver Christian Klien is set to complete the European Le Mans Series season with Morand Racing.
The Austrian will replace Franck Mailleux alongside Natacha Gachnang at the team, the Frenchman being unable to find the funds for the upcoming Hungaroring and Paul Ricard rounds of the championship.
“Let us first express our most sincere thanks to Franck for the great job he did both in the European Le Mans Series and at Le Mans but the truth is that we had to take the painful decision to find a new driver for the end of the season,” explained team manager Benoit Morand. “[We] had a short list of professional drivers who were available and who could finish the season with us. The name of Christian came back many times due to his professional motorsport background.”
Together with Gachnang and Olivier Pla Klien was able to take part in Dunlop tyre test at Snetterton in the team’s Morgan-Judd LMP2 car. The trio were able to complete over 150 laps on the new tyres in the range of weather conditions offered by the British summer.
“[Christian] showed most impressive abilities to adapt to a LMP2 car that he was just discovering,” said Morand. “His feedback with our engineer together with his feeling with the car under rainy and dry conditions confirmed us that our decision was the right one and we are really pleased to welcome Christian for the last 2 rounds of the season. We have no doubt that, as a team, Natacha and Christian will be highly competitive in both qualification and race and we intend to finish the season with two good results including a victory.”
Klien’s first race with Morand Racing will be on September 13-14 at the Hungaroring. A fortnight later the season ends at the Paul Ricard in France.