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Class pole for Strakka at Paul Ricard

The 2010 Le Mans Series season is off to the best possible start for Strakka Racing, with an emphatic class pole from Danny Watts in the team's HPD ARX-01c. His impressive performance came after three sessions of free practice during which the Strakka entry dominated LMP2, and this was reflected in a pole time of 1:44.989 that was more than two seconds clear of the field. "I'm absolutely delighted for everyone at Strakka, and all the other people associated with the project," said Piers Phillips, Team Manager. "This is the team's reward for six months of hard work, not only by the personnel at Strakka, but also for all those involved in the development of the car, including HPD (Honda Performance Development), Wirth Research and Michelin. It's the perfect start to the year." Danny had just three laps in which to meet the expectations of everyone watching from the team garage, but he managed it in one. "I knew I had only a small window of opportunity, so it was important to get a clear lap right from the start," he admitted. The timing was perfect, and having held back in the pitlane until the session was eight minutes gone, he emerged into a traffic-free period and was able to make his first flyer count. "I was surprised when I saw the lap time, but the grip level the car gave from the Michelin tyres was absolutely fantastic. The car does everything you ask of it, and more. Having a car that performs as well as this just makes the job so much easier." "Danny thoroughly enjoyed that!" suggested Piers. "It was the first time we'd given him free rein and let him loose, and he pushed right to the limit. He was on the ragged edge, but he didn't put a foot wrong. It was a very impressive lap." "That was a great performance," agreed Nick Leventis, co-driver with Danny and Ulsterman Jonny Kane. "We knew we had the pace, but it's nice to go out there and prove it by putting the car on top of the pile. To be two seconds clear is testament to the extraordinary efforts of all those associated with the programme at Strakka, and it also confirms all the expectations we have in the potential of the HPD package. I'm just delighted to be starting the year in such an emphatic way." "This comes at the end of two very productive days," added Piers. "We came here with a detailed programme of tasks, and we worked through that list point by point, and ticked all the boxes. The success of that approach is reflected in Danny's time this afternoon. It's a point on the board for the championship, but tomorrow's another day and we'd be foolish to underestimate the opposition. It's an eight hour race, and so much can happen." The team's third driver, Jonny Kane, will be taking the race start. Having set the car's fastest time on Friday, he's looking forward to his responsibility. "The first corners here are going to be tight. There will be many drivers keen to make a good start, but it will be equally important to stay out of trouble. With those first few minutes out of the way, I'll be looking to get my head down, settle into the race, and ensure that I hand the car over in the best position I can."

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