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algarve pro racing

Algarve Pro Racing Team: 24 Hours of Le Mans build-up

Mark Patterson, Tacksung Kim and Ate Dirk de Jong used first practice to relearn the #25 Ligier JSP2-17 and Circuit de la Sarthe;

Patterson’s 3m42.404s remained Algarve Pro Racing’s best practice time until the third and final Qualifying Practice session on Thursday (14 June) evening;

The priority in Qualifying Practice 2 on Wednesday (13 June) night was for Algarve Pro Racing’s drivers to complete their five compulsory night laps;

Algarve Pro Racing’s Le Mans rookies expressed enthusiasm for night racing at Circuit de la Sarthe;

Significantly cooler conditions created a different environment for tyre warm-up in the final two Qualifying Practice segments on Thursday;

Grip was at a premium for the whole field in Qualifying Practice 2 and there were several incidents. Kim’s Qualifying Practice 2 stint was interrupted by a red-flag stoppage, but the session was ultimately shortened by 30 minutes when the red flags flew for a second time during De Jong’s run;

Feedback from Kim and De Jong was overwhelmingly positive, as both felt more comfortable and confident with the Ligier JSP2-17 than ever before;

Qualifying Practice 3 on Thursday evening was extended by 30 minutes to compensate for the lost track time;

During the first 30 minutes, which was dubbed the “happy half hour”, Patterson recorded two consecutive personal bests, topping out at 3m39.518s on new Dunlop tyres;

Forecasted drizzle materialised during the final hour of qualifying and Algarve Pro Racing chose to preserve its car and wrap up its programme early when a wet track was declared.

Ate Dirk de Jong (#25 Algarve Pro Racing Team Ligier JSP2-17): “The car was mega from the first flying lap on high fuel and old tyres in the final Qualifying Practice session and I believe I would have been as fast as my personal best lap time, even on the worn rubber, if I had had a clean lap. Unfortunately, I never had a clear lap without a slow zone, but I had enough time to get a good feel. With this car and a new engine for the race, we will be strong. If we keep running as others falter, I believe we can reach the top 15 overall.”

Tacksung Kim (#25 Algarve Pro Racing Team Ligier JSP2-17): “The car feels much better compared to earlier Qualifying Practice sessions. I feel so comfortable with the setup – it’s perfect. At the end of Qualifying Practice 3, rain forced me to back off a little bit, but I’m now used to driving at night and I feel confident going into the race, especially as my pace is pretty consistent at all times of the day or night. Algarve Pro Racing Team has made a lot of progress and I think we can be happy about our race prospects. I’m happy to have brought the car home in one piece at the end of Qualifying!”

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