Frédéric Gabillon Our goal is the championship

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard

Driver of the team RDV Compétion, present in Nascar Whelen Euro Series since 2013 and 3 times vice-champion of the discipline, Frédéric Gabillon talks about his weekend in Valencia where he finished 8th in round 1 and 6 th in round 2.

Can you tell us about your weekend in Valencia ?
It was a very complicated weekend for us. We could not drive a lot on Thursday because an Elite 2 driver did not see me and hit me. We had to change a half-axle and so we could not do the scheduled program.
With the new tires, the new shock absorbers and the lack of driving, we could not find the right settings. We get the 7th place in qualifying and from the first race the tires have deteriorated enormously. We lost a second per lap.
On Sunday, during the warm up we were faster than Saturday. We finished 6th and we lost 5 tenths per lap. So we still have a lot of work to do on the car because the set up provided did not work at all with these tires.

What are the main changes with the new General Tires compared to the Michelin used last year ?

The General Tires are narrower, the carcass is much stiffer and they have a large drop off. Everyone loses two seconds/lap from the 6th or 8th lap. It is complicated to find the pressures and chassis settings. In pure performance they are not far from the Michelin but their wear is faster. So it’s complicated to manage.

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard

Do you think the tires will improve or will the teams have to adapt ?

For Franciacorta it will be necessary to work on the settings. At Brands Hatch we should have a new type of tyres with a new carcass because currently they are not adapted to the car.

The level is higher than ever, how do you approach the championship ?

It is approached in the same way as other years. This year there are no Elite 2 drivers on my car so there is less wear on some parts. Our goal is the championship. The goal is to win one or two races during the season and to be in contention for the championship in the final.

The limits of the track was one of the main concern of the drivers this weekend. What is your feeling about this ?

I was close to taking a penalty in the first race. In Valencia it is always the same story, at the start of race 1 many have cut in the first corner. The problem this weekend is that we did not really have a choice, the car understeer a lot and I had a hard time keeping it on the track. Holding the race line with tires like this is going to be a problem on all tracks.

Is driving pleasure impacted ?

Yes, it’s not even comparable to previous seasons. A year ago in Valencia, we finished the races in 1:40:4 and this year we were in 1:43:8. We lost more than 3 seconds at the end of the race compared to what we did with the Michelin. It’s not fun at all because we can not attack. We will see with the new specificity of the tires planned.

Credits: dutchnascarfans.nl

It’s been 5 years that you drive for the team RDV Competition, you have made the choice of continuity by staying with them ?

With Franck (Violas, team manager of the team) we get along really well. The team always did what I wanted. We have always had enough parts and we never needed to drive to the economy. When Eric Hélary stopped driving in the championship, I absolutely wanted to keep the same engineer and drive in a French team. I speak for the first time with Franck at Le Mans in 2014 and we immediately understood each other. Together, we have twice been NWES vice-champions. I have never think of changing teams.

Interview of Frédéric Gabillon on April 15th, 2019 by Guillaume Hesnault