Franck MONTAGNY: “It’s great to have won the Mini Le Mans! It all feels very weird, but I think the organisers were right to stop the race, because the conditions really were dangerous. We had an excellent strategy and our car was very fast once we were able to run on slick tyres.”
I am wondering if mini Le Mans has been translated badly, but I quite like it. I may call it that from now on. Here’s a picture of lovely Franck with added trophy.
The Montagny/Sarrazin car was in the lead when the race came to an end, although it wasn’t exactly a stunning victory. The entire race was marred by bad weather, with a lot of the running halted due to lightning concerns.
McNish was dominating up until a serious downpour, when he spun on his cold tyres, and let the lead change hands.
It may not have been a thrilling way to take the trophy, but nevertheless, a win is a win, and it’s all about being in front when it matters. Well done to Franck, he did a fabulous job!
Franck’s official site has updated with thoughts on the race at Sonoma, and confirms what we all thought – a disappointing race but FKM still showed well.
We would have loved seeing Franck repeating his last year’s success in Long Beach as he scored a strong second place for his first Champcar race. That was finally not the case this weekend but Franck still did an amazing job getting used to the car so quickly. He scored the 3rd-fastest laptime during the race! Pretty good for rookie!
Franck’s returning to Europe now to work with Peugeot on the upcoming Petit Le Mans race. It’s just been confirmed that Audi are planning to join in the fun so it looks like we’ll see a repeat of the battle we enjoyed last year. FKM is determined, too:
This time, it won’t be about making a strong impression though… he will be there to fight for the win and that’s pretty good news for all of us!
I can honestly say that I stayed up to watch the race, and then went to bed once Franck had to retire from the race. How disappointing.
FKM had been involved in an incident on the very first lap, when the cars in front tangled together leaving little space for those behind to squeeze through unscathed. Although he was now running towards the back, miles away from his 8th place starting position, it was still going okay.
Reports came through that he was struggling with the car though, and after another incident and a couple of pit stops, the race ended early for our favourite Frenchman.
Meanwhile, Dario Franchitti took a rather superb flag to flag victory (which I did not stay up to see!)
The AGR report has this snippet from Franck:
“I never really had a chance today. We were hit from behind on the very first lap, went into the gravel and that was pretty much the end of our race. We tried a few things as the day went on, but there was not much we could do and I didn’t want to cause problems for the drivers that are competing in the championship fulltime. It was a tough day, for sure.”
The entire AGR team had a mixed day, with the other drivers finishing 5th, 8th, 14th and 16th. FKM was the only retiree for the team.
I guess I was hoping he could have got a decent result to open up some paths for the future, but the team did seem impressed with how dedicated he was and how he carried himself through the weekend. Maybe results aren’t everything?
I know I have been quite since Franck’s race seat was announced, and I should have been following his performance in testing as well as in qualifying yesterday. Apparently rookie’s get a bit of extra time on track which is a really good thing to see.
I saw some of qualifying yesterday, although I never really established which car was Franck on screen, and only caught the last few minutes of Round 2.
I was following live timing though, and spotted that Franck qualified 8th, which is notably above of Danica Patrick – who’s seat he was rumoured to be taking. (This looks unlikely now, but you never know.)
If you are planning to watch the race, then why not join us over on Sidepodcast.com, where as clueless as we are about IRL, it might turn out to be fun.