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WEC Goodbye, Farewell & Au Revoirs

Friends, colleagues and 'ever presents'

Marco Ragazzoni (pictured above) Long-time Endurance Racing Correspondent for AutoSprint magazine died a week before Christmas after a long illness at the all too young age of 60 years old.

Marco was one of the very first of the international racing media to take the time to say hi to the now DSC Editor in the early part of this century, and continued to do so until he stepped away from regular attendance at the races in recent years.

In an era where different values seem all too prevalent his customary friendliness and good grace will be very much missed.

Martin Goureau, Chef de Piste du Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans, died suddenly a week ago too.

A man known amongst his colleagues as a true enthusiast, passionate about the sport, and the unique nature of the circuit that he took willing and fulsome responsibility for, he’s another that will be difficult to replace.

Sir Lindsay Owen Jones, stepped away from his Presidency of the FIA Endurance Commission at the last World Motorsport Council Meeting in early December after a tenure that covered the first six years of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The corridors of power are always tricky to navigate and those that do so are all too often undervalued by others.

Make no mistake though Lindsay’s efforts on behalf of the part of the sport that we love here at DSC have been hugely important to the strength, structure and spirit of what we report on here every single day.

An ex racer himself he’ll stay in touch with the ‘family’ and will, no doubt, be a handy point of reference too for his replacement as President, watchmaker and long-time motorsport backer and enthusiast Richard Mille.

Also stepping away from the WEC family is Leese Crampton, bound for a new role with BMW Motorsport, another step on her motorsport career path that has seen her a part of countless international events. As she reads this Leese will be making the final preparations for her trip to assist the BMW Mini team in the 2018 Dakar Rally.

The WEC family will know her as the Assistant to Race Director Eduardo Freitas. He said it best when the DSC Editor spoke with him of Leese’s departure from the role. “It happens of course, but this lady will be particularly hard to replace.”

Good luck Leese and we’ll see you in a paddock somewhere soon.

One final one, and it’s a bit different:

Since Sebring in 2012 One marque has led the WEC field at least once for each of the first 50 meetings.

Audi has supplied the World Championship’s Safety Cars for the whole of the first six years, a contract that still had a year to run after the withdrawal of the race team at the end of 2016.

A variety of sporty Audi models have done service, from the A6 Avants that have given rapid medical intervention, to RS 5s and R8s that have given sure-footed pace to the Safety Car drivers and to Driver Advisor Yannick Dalmas even in the worst of conditions.

Who could forget Yannick’s silky skills in the teeming rain at Le Mans in 2016?

The final act was played out at Bahrain and, as the press conferences started and the WEC TV crew packed up the booth there was one last blast of V10 symphony as the Audi crew that builds, prepares and maintains the cars brought the pair of R8s out onto the pit straight one last time, lights flashing, for a final and very private photocall on their very last finish line.