Disappointment for Aston Martin Racing
NEWS ON RADIO
21st August, 2006
Aston Martin Racing finished third and fourth in the GT1 class in the American Le Mans Series race at Road America, yesterday (Sunday, 20th August). The end result is adisappointment for the team who looked like they were in contention for their third win of the season.
The team made a promising start, Stephane Sarrazin pulled away cleanly to retain first place in the GT1 class in the #9 DBR9 and teammate Darren Turner raced from third to second in the #7 DBR9.
Turner lost second place on lap 12 and Sarrazin suffered a huge set back on lap 13 when the number two Audi made contact and the #9 car spun into the gravel trap at turn 12.
A full course yellow was called and officials towed the #9 DBR9 out of the gravel. The #7 car took the opportunity to pit and after an exceptional pit stop by the #7 crew, Turner rejoined the race in first place in the GT1 class.
Sarrazin pitted and rejoined the race three laps down on the GT1 leader. He remained in the car until a second safety car on lap 29 when he pitted again to hand over to co-driver Pedro Lamy. Lamy ran well until he suffered a puncture on lap 55 and returned to the pits – Sarrazin taking to the wheel of #9 for the remainder of the race.
Turner completed two stints in the #7 DBR9 handing the car over to Tomas Enge a little before the two-hour mark. Enge left the pits in third place and a third safety car period ensued shortly afterwards. When the green flag dropped, Enge overtook for second place at turn five only to endure the heartbreak of a front left puncture minutes later. The ensuing pit stop dropped Enge back down to third with just over 10 minutes of the race remaining. Teammate Sarrazin crossed the line in fourth, five laps down.
The team are hoping for better luck when they return to the US for round eight of the American Le Mans Series, the Grand Prix of Mosport at Mosport International Raceway. The race starts at 3 PM Eastern Time on Sunday, 3rd September.
George Howard-Chappell, Team Principal, Aston Martin Racing: “We are obviously very disappointed with the overall result after such a good, strong start to the race.
“We were slightly slower than the opposition in the race but the drivers put up a great fight. The team and the drivers showed incredible spirit despite the fact that we were unlucky with the two punctures and Stéphane’s accident early in the race.
“Highlights were the fantastic first stop by the #7 crew and the great attacking move from Tomas near the end of the race.”
CAR #7: 3rd in GT1 class (11th overall) Best race lap 2:02.142s
Tomas Enge (Czech Republic): “Today we probably deserved better positions than third and fourth but we gave it our best and I have to thank Darren for the great job he did in the car for the first two stints. Unfortunately at the end I had a puncture and we lost a lap to the race winner under the third safety car.
“I was expecting Olivier (Beretta) to block me and protect his line more than he did when I overtook him near to the end of the race but I was prepared to fight as much as possible. At the end of the fight I thought that I wouldn’t make the corner but luckily I did!”
Darren Turner (UK): “For once we were lucky at the start, the right hand lane getting away quicker than the left which meant I went up to second place. I stuck close to Stephane and it was really tight with all four of the GT1 cars until I made a small mistake at the Kink (turn 11) and dropped a place, which was frustrating.
“I was really pleased with the way it was going – the guys did an amazing job in the first pit stop. I was behind one of the Corvette’s when I came in and I left the pits in front of both of them and took the lead.”
CAR #9: 4th in GT1 class (16th overall) Best race lap 2.01.643s
Pedro Lamy (Portugal): “Stephane was hit by the Audi in his first run and so by the time I got in the car we were a few laps down. I did my stint as best I could but we were too far back to challenge for the lead.
“Now I will start looking forward to the next race at Mosport, I haven’t driven there before so it will be a new challenge for me.”
Stephane Sarrazin (France): “I had a great start to the race, I was making good progress but the Audi turned in and spun me into the gravel. I was frustrated as the car was deep in the gravel and I had to wait to be towed out. We lost the race at this point which was a shame because the car had been running really well and I was really enjoying the track.”
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