The Oreca 07 Duqueine that Tristan drives this year

Over Half way through the season with 2 races at Le Castellet

Published on by Jean-Baptiste MABIT - updated on

Shortened to a 5-stage calendar due to the Covid crisis, the 2020 European Le Mans Series championship started on 19 July at the French race track of Le Castellet. A welcome return to racing for Tristan Gommendy, who is proudly flying the colours of EQUIP AUTO for the third consecutive year. Three races into the season and on the eve of the Le Mans 24 hour race, we look back on Tristan’s first half season. 

New year, new team

Tristan Gommendy joins with Jonathan Hirshi at Duqueine

5 months after the announcement of his arrival in the Duquiene racing team, Tristan Gommendy got back on the road with his new crew for a 2020 ELMS season featuring one race fewer than usual, but just as fiercely contested.

The team’s goals are clear: score as many points as possible to regularly appear in the top spots and aim for a place on the winner’s podium, all the while during a shorter season. So little room for error in a tough competition, with Tristan Gommendy acknowledging the very high level of his rivals: “That’s what makes podium finishes and wins so priceless!”.

A chequered record, marred by race incidents

Tristan's results are overally good despite race incidents

The 2020 season offered our ambassador the privilege of commencing hostilities at home on the Paul Ricard track in Le Castellet. Despite a successful series of qualifications which allowed the team to start in fourth position on the grid, a collision on the 23rd lap forced the team to retire with a broken suspension. This first meeting therefore finished prematurely in spite of a well-controlled race. Our ambassador would have a second chance to shine on home ground 20 days later.

The second leg of the championship took the team to Belgium and the Spa-Francorchamps track, where Duqueine met with a quite different fate to the first race. Tristan Gommendy and his team once again started from fourth place on the grid and battled among the top positions throughout the race. Despite being the victim of another race incident, a puncture caused by debris on the track, Tristan managed to hang onto a welcome fourth place. The Team Manager, expressing his satisfaction, underlined the performances of the car which had already been illustrated at Le Castellet during qualifications, and paid tribute to the work of the mechanics and drivers to get the best possible performance out of the car.

On the back of this positive result, the team returned to the Paul Ricard track. Unexpected rain showers disrupted the race preparation, obliging the team to adapt and change its strategy. The car rose to the challenge and at the first driver changeover, Tristan Gommendy was in second position. Then came a race incident, yet another one: a spin on a damp patch of the track and a collision with an LMP3 put paid once again to the team’s hopes for a podium finish. Driving the last relay, Tristan Gommendy could do no better than ninth place, despite lapping at the same pace as the leaders.

As we move into the second half of the season, we would rather dwell on the good lap times and the car’s performance rather than the team’s tenth place in the general classification which hardly does justice to the team’s performances, affected by race incidents during each stage. There is still a chance of catching up the 22 points lying between the Duqueine team and the podium. Everyone in the EQUIP AUTO team will be keenly following the two last legs, which will be held on 11 October and 1 November in Monza (Italy) and Portimao (Portugal).


Next step: LE MANS

Tristan Gommendy is now focused on the 24H du Mans

The team’s attention has now turned to the world’s premier endurance race: the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A legendary race in which Tristan Gommendy will be competing for the 11th time in his career, still with the same motivation to earn a place on the podium on which he has already stood three times before. The 2020 race will be a new experience for him, as it will be taking place behind closed doors and most importantly in the autumn. The weather conditions and the extra two hours of night time will offer an entirely unprecedented experience: a very exceptional race, acknowledged by Tristan as being very special and which will leave no room for mistakes of any kind.

The administrative and technical checks kicking off the Le Mans 24 Hour race are planned for 16 September, while the race will set off at 2.30pm on Saturday 19 September.

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