Aston Martin Racing : Primat prepares for Paul Ricard and Le Mans

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Fresh from a podium finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida last month, Aston Martin works driver Harold Primat is targeting a strong start to his European season next weekend as he travels to France for the Paul Ricard 8 Hours.

The Geneva-based Primat shared an Aston Martin LMP1 prototype with Adrian Fernandez and Stefan Mucke at the American Le Mans Series opener in Florida and will again team-up with the Mexican and the German for the first round of the European-based Le Mans Series.

A strong field at Paul Ricard will include a works Audi R15 TDI and a Team Oreca-run Peugeot 908 HDi, but after a hugely encouraging performance in the notoriously-challenging Sebring race, Primat heads to the south of France in confident mood.

“It was a very positive sign that the car was extremely reliable in Sebring,” Harold said. “It is a credit to the team that we had a trouble-free race, because that is an impressive achievement at an event that is so hard on the car.

“We will approach the Paul Ricard race in exactly the same way. This event is eight hours long, so reliability could well be a key factor in the final result and, after how well the team and the car performed in Sebring, I think that plays in our favour.

“Sebring was a key part of our preparations for Le Mans, and that continues at Paul Ricard. Our objective is to continue working on reliability and developing the car and the tyres ahead of the 24 Hours in June.”

One key aspect of the race will be dealing with traffic as a healthy 41-car grid, spread across five different classes, descends on a circuit which hasn’t hosted top level sportscar racing in recent years.

“There are two long straights at Paul Ricard which will help with slower traffic, but there are also some tighter, twisty sections,” explained Harold. “That will be an important challenge during the race as I can foresee the prototypes getting trapped behind the GT cars at those parts of the track and losing a lot of time. Managing traffic is a major part of sportscar racing and that will be no different in this race.

“The standard of the teams in the LMS has risen again this year, but to be the fastest petrol car is our goal. We tested at Paul Ricard during the official LMS test earlier in the year so we have an idea of what our optimum set up will be, so we should be close to where we want to be quite quickly.

“Adrian, Stefan and I are all working well together and we also have a great relationship with our engineers, so we will push as hard as we can to get the best possible result for the team and continue our important preparations for Le Mans.”
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