Aston Martin Racing: Le Mans 18 hour update

Sunday, June 13, 2010

With just six hours remaining of this year's Le Mans 24 Hours -- the time equivalent of a complete Le Mans Series race -- the lead 007 Aston Martin has been hit with a transmission problem.

The car had been running flawlessly from start to finish but just before 08:00 this morning, when Harold Primat was driving, it developed an uncharacteristic problem that forced it to come into the garage from an excellent fifth place overall.

As Primat recounted: "I was just driving normally with no hint of anything wrong and then suddenly I got this warning light on the dashboard. The team told me to come in and to be honest I thought it was the sort of thing that they would sort out in a minute, as everything has been so perfect mechanically up to now. But then they pushed the car into the garage and told me to jump out, so it was clear that the situation was more far reaching than I first thought. It's a real pity as we were on for a really good result in the top five."

The 007 car is expected to remain in the garage for some time while repairs are carried out, but Aston Martin is still set for a one-two in the unofficial petrol class if the situation stays how it currently is.

Sam Hancock is at the wheel of 009 and currently running in a strong sixth, while the Signature team's 008 car is now eighth with Pierre Ragues. All the other cars ahead of them are diesels, which benefit from better torque and economy.

Hancock took over from Darren Turner in the 009 car just before its sister developed the transmission problem. Turner completed a long stint throughout the early morning, enjoying a trouble-free run.

"I didn't have any problems in particular and Sam is doing a great job too," said Turner. "We've been fautless up to now with the reliability and also lucky it's stayed dry. You feel a bit tired at this point, but the adrenaline keeps you going. I feel really sorry for the 007 crew but these things just sometimes happen in motorsport. We're still on for a great team result and we need to focus on that."

Aston Martin's strong performance is not just confined to the premier LMP1 category. The GT1 Aston Martin DBR9 run by AMR Young Driver is back up to second in class, with Peter Kox currently driving.

Weather conditions are expected to remain dry for the last six hours of the race, which is due to finish at 15:00 local time.
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