On its return to the ELMS’s LMP2 division in Le Castellet last month (12-14 April), RLR MSport achieved a highly respectable top eight result with Bruno Senna, Arjun Maini and John Farano at the wheel of its ORECA 07.
The Bolton-based team worked methodically throughout official testing to optimise its car setup and subsequently wound up near the top of the free practice timesheets, before racing to a confidence-inspiring eighth-place result that provides a solid base for a push towards the top five in Round 2 of the 2019 ELMS season at Italy’s Temple of Speed.
“I’m looking forward to this weekend at Monza,” said Maini. “RLR MSport and I have been working hard, trying to build on our strong start to the season, and we’re quite bullish about our chances going into the weekend. I’ve spent a lot of time in Italy during my career and the circuit has a lot of history behind it, which means I always strive to do well there. This will be my fourth visit to Monza and I’m hoping for a strong result after a few unfortunate years.”
For RLR MSport’s ELMS LMP3 contingent, more work is needed to find a suitable compromise that will give all three drivers – Christian Olsen, Martin Vedel and Martin Rich – the confidence to push the #15 Ligier JSP3.
Official Testing and the opening race weekend of the season in Le Castellet were mired by balance issues and, while some progress was made, the quest for a setup that complements each driver’s style will continue during the build-up to the 4 Hours of Monza.
“The season didn’t start as well as we had hoped, but I’m highly optimistic that we can reset and find the balance in the car that we were missing last time out in Le Castellet,” said Rich. “Having looked at our overall performance against the other teams, I remain confident we can fight for a strong result once we have the car under us.
“I love Monza as a track; it provides such a unique blend of speed and history and it’s going to be a fabulous weekend. I don’t want to make any predictions at this point, but we’ll all be working hard to take a big step forward and we’ll see where that gets us. Hopefully it’ll be somewhere near the podium!”
Monza also hosts the second round of the supporting Michelin Le Mans Cup. Father-son pairing Tom and Christian Olsen will once again team-up in the #14 Ligier with the aim of bagging points at the high-speed Italian circuit, which typically favours the rival Norma M30s.
“I’m excited about working to progress on from Le Castellet, which wasn’t the greatest for us,” said Christian Olsen. “Monza is a very different animal to Circuit Paul Ricard and we’re ready to get out on track and give it everything to find a flow and a steady platform that will enable us to score a good amount of championship points.”
RLR MSport Director of Motorsport Operations, Nick Reynolds, said: “At Monza, the aim for our LMP2 drivers will be to break into the top five overall, having started strongly in Le Castellet. A top eight result was pleasing, but we featured in the podium places during the race at Circuit Paul Ricard, thanks to impressive driving from Bruno (Senna), Arjun (Maini) and John (Farano), a solid strategy and clean pit work, so we know we have the ability to trouble the established frontrunners.
“In LMP3, we left Le Castellet with a plan and ideas on how to move forward, which we will implement at Monza. Finding a setup that gives all three drivers confidence will be the first priority, then I’m sure we will be up at the sharp end fighting for points and podiums, as we’re accustomed to doing.”
Source. Leveridge Promotions