Mahindra Preserves Perfect Points Record In France
Aspar Mahindra rider Pecco Bagnaia preserved Mahindra’s perfect 2016 points record in the French GP at Le Mans today, with a hard-fought 12th place, seven places higher than his qualifying position.
After two top-three podiums in the first four races this year, the Italian teenager had hoped for better. But at a quirky circuit that favours different machine characteristics from those of the Mahindra MGP3O, he made the most of his opportunities to continue building the overall score.
The race was run over 24 laps of the 4.185-km “stop-and-go” Bugatti circuit at the famous motor sport venue in the west of France. The Mahindra, made by the only Indian constructor in the World Championship, shows its strength at faster circuits, where riders can exploit the exceptional high-speed cornering performance.
Bagnaia qualified 19th, putting him on the seventh row of the grid, in the thick of a pack of slower riders in the Moto3 class.
He was soon picking up places, and was up in the points before one-third distance, and making his way forward in a pack chasing a ten-strong leading group.
Hopes of improvement were dashed in the closing laps, when a tussle with another rider caused both to lose touch with their group. Bagnaia won that fight, but it had ended any chance of further improvement.
Team-mate Jorge Martin finished 18th, five places higher than his qualifying position.
The next race is the Italian GP at Mugello, a longer and faster circuit where the Mahindra team can have higher hopes. Last year, Bagnaia finished fourth, in a pack of six across the line in less than four tenths of a second.
PECCO BAGNAIA – 12th Place
“This has been a difficult weekend. On Friday we were fast, but yesterday and today it was too difficult to find speed on the straight. The other Mahindras were better than mine. We were able to finish in the points. We have to work towards a points finish every time and keep the momentum going, but after the podium at Jerez this race was a little disappointing.”
MUFADDAL CHOONIA – CEO Mahindra Racing
“That wasn’t the result we were looking for. We came after a good race at Jerez, but here at Le Mans this weekend it wasn’t to be. Now we need to put our heads down, and look forward to Mugello.”