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Panis confident over ORECA pace

ORECA Peugeot, Le Mans 2011ORECA Peugeot driver Olivier Panis has played down the effect of the 15kg ballast reduction that has been applied to the year-old 908 HDI he shares with Nicolas Lapierre and Loic Duval.

But he remains confident about the car's race pace even though it was 4.3s slower than the polesitting Audi in qualifying.

"With the restrictor we have, we are certainly not sandbagging," Panis told AUTOSPORT. "But on the long runs we have a very good car to compete with them [Audi], and that's what we're aiming to do in the race.

"We can't feel it [the 15kg weight reduction] much. We are a few tenths quicker over the lap - it's not enough. The Audis and the new Peugeots are quicker than us, especially in a straight line, because they are newer cars and more efficient.

"But still, we're quite confident. We hope to be less than 2.5s off in the race. We did not go for a fast lap in qualifying, really. We still had fuel in the car. In the race we will see we have a card to play, for sure."

The ORECA Peugeot will start from seventh on the grid when the race gets underway later today.

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