Aston Martin Racing: Le Mans 3 hour update

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The two Works Aston Martin LMP1 cars have made solid progress after an incident-packed start to the 78th Le Mans 24 Hours. Adrian Fernandez is currently at the wheel of 007, having taken over at 17:15 and is running seventh overall. The 009 car, which is now being driven by Sam Hancock, is just behind it in eighth.

The 008 car, run by French team Signature Plus, is 11th in the hands of Franck Mailleux.
Stefan Mücke started the race at 15:00 in 007 from eighth place and stayed in the car for a triple stint, held in dry conditions. He was followed off the line at the traditional rolling start by Darren Turner in 009, who qualified ninth.

The race was interrupted by a full safety car period following an accident close to Arnage just 20 minutes after the start. The safety car stayed out for nearly 40 minutes, during which the team decided to pit the 009 car early for more fuel. The strategy did not quite pay off though as Turner was held at the end of the pit lane for a long time until the safety car had passed. The same situation affected Mücke, although he lost less time.

Nonetheless, both drivers fought their way back up to the respective eighth and ninth places that they had started in, before handing over to their team mates. The only incident was some contact sustained to the right side of the 007 car during an overtaking manoeuvre at the Mulsanne Chicane, when Mücke was driving. The 009 car had a trouble-free run throughout the first three hours.

Mücke said: “The start was OK: we had some good lap times but no chance at all to follow the diesel cars in front of us. I ran in tandem with Darren a lot of the time, and we had no problems. I had a small contact when I think a car that I was overtaking did not see me, but nothing serious.”

Turner commented: “There’s been plenty of action and quite a lot of traffic since the very start and although I ran with Stefan at the beginning, we’re on a different strategy to the 007 car. For us, it’s a question of taking no risks and getting to the finish, so it’s been a solid start.”

Just before the hour, Aston Martin Racing made up more places when Fernandez in 007 claimed seventh overall and Hancock moved up to eighth.

The 008 car run by the Signature team was started by Franck Mailleux, who is completing a quadruple stint before handing over to Vanina Ickx. The French team also lost out during the safety car period, but is fighting back strongly.

The Young Driver AMR DBR9 is currently third in the GT1 class with Tomas Enge behind the wheel. Peter Kox started the race for the team from pole position in the class, but also pitted early while the safety car was out. The Vantage GT2 of JMW Motorsport is 12th in class, with Tim Sugden taking over from Rob Bell.


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