Next stop Le Mans for Kallio and Redding
Mika Kallio and Scott Redding head for this weekend's Grand Prix de France at Le Mans confident of a return to form, after tyre and handling issues saw them finish ninth and eleventh last time out in Estoril.
Chatter issues mid race plagued Kallio, halting his progress through the field from 17th on the grid, while Redding was unable to capitalise on his front row start after using up his tyre chasing down the leading group.
The Marc VDS duo are keen to make amends this weekend and both head to France with confidence restored following a successful two-day test at the Navarra circuit in Northern Spain earlier this week.
Part of the Circuit de la Sarthe, on which the legendary 24 Heures du Mans car race is run each year, the Bugatti circuit is dominated by second gear corners and short straights, demanding a bike that is stable under braking, but with good acceleration out of the low-speed turns.
For the second year running the Elf logo will be prominent on the bikes of Kallio and Redding, which will also run a special red, white and blue colour scheme at Le Mans this weekend. The Elf logo and the one-off livery are part of an agreement that will see the French oil and lubricants giant as the primary sponsor of the Marc VDS Racing Team for five races this season, starting with the French Grand Prix this weekend.
Mika Kallio #36:
“The test at Navarra was quite positive. I did a race simulation on the second day and the bike felt the same for the duration, not different on almost every lap like in Estoril. Le Mans is a different circuit, so we will need to confirm everything there on Friday, but it's certainly looking promising. Le Mans is another stop start sort of track, with some heavy braking areas and mostly slower corners, not to mention weather that often plays a big part during a race weekend. I need to improve in qualifying, to start the race from closer to the front of the grid. If I can do that this weekend then I think a top five finish is possible.”
Scott Redding #45:
“We didn't get the result we were looking for last time out in Estoril, but that was mainly down to going with the wrong tyre for the race. It's something we need to think about this weekend at Le Mans, where the racing is likely to be even closer because of the characteristics of the track. We had a good two days testing at Navarra, where we definitely made some improvements to the bike, so I'm pretty confident we can bounce back with a good result this weekend in France.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“We had some issues in Estoril, which is why we decided to test at short notice in Navarra before heading to the French Grand Prix in Le Mans. The weather conditions in Spain couldn't have been better and both Mika and Scott managed to make improvements to the set-up of their bikes over the two days. Now we head for France, which is an important race for us. For the second year running we welcome Elf as title sponsor for the French Grand Prix, where we'll run with a very distinctive red, white and blue livery. Elf have been a strong supporter of the team since the start and I hope we can repay their commitment with two good results this weekend at Le Mans.”