Team Endurance Challenge is preparing for the next leg of its European Le Mans Series campaign at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
Gary Hirsch and Paul-Loup Chatin currently lead the championship standings in the #49 Oreca-FLM 09 machine, and will head to Austria alongside team-mates Soheil Ayari and Anthony Pons in the #48 and Alex Loan and Nico Verdonck in the #47.
Hirsch and Chatin have certainly found the pace in the #49 car, taking pole position at both Silverstone and Imola, before finishing second and first in each race respectively, taking them to the top of the championship standings.
“We took the championship lead in Italy and, with Gary, we want to confirm our status as leaders,” explains Chatin, who has the added advantage of having driven the Red Bull Ring already, taking pole position in Formula Renault 2.0 and a victory in Italian Porsche Carrera Cup. “The Red Bull Ring is a nice track, with heavy braking points and a few quick corners that are quite fun. On the other hand, it’s quick tight. So it’s going to be complicated with the traffic, which will be an important factor. The objective is to not only get the pole again, but win again as well. I’m still gaining experience in this discipline. With a new car in the category, it will be another interesting element of comparison.”
Ayari and Pons have also had an impressive start to the season, taking the win in Silverstone and second at Imola, meaning just two points for the two pole positions separate them from their team-mates at the top of the standings.
“On paper, the No.49 is certainly faster,” admits Pons. “With Soheil, we still have ambitions. We have a great desire to do well and consequently we’ve prepared for that. We went to the Red Bull Ring to get a lay of the land and we have a few tricks up our sleeves. After Imola, an exceptional circuit, the Red Bull Ring seems more conventional but the setting is no less magnificent. For me, I’m continuing to discover life in a Le Mans Prototype. I’ve already learned a lot and progressed…and it will continue with this new step.”