Aston Martin Racing: Le Mans 6 Hour update

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Le Mans, 12 June 2010. Aston Martin has continued to make progress as the first quarter of the Le Mans 24 Hours draws to a close. Harold Primat (CH) is now at the wheel of the 007 car, which has climbed to sixth place overall thanks to another fast and incident-free run.

The 009 car, now in the hands of Juan Barazi (DK), is running eighth. Two places behind him is the 008 car run by French team Signature Plus, which is 10th with Pierre Ragues (FR) driving. The classification has been once more compressed by a safety car, which came out just before 21:00.

AdrIan Fernandez (MX) completed a triple stint at the wheel of 007, making up one more place to climb from seventh to sixth. The Mexican’s first experience of the LMP1 car in competitive conditions at Le Mans went extremely well, with him stopping only for fuel and tyres as scheduled.

“It’s been really good: maybe the handling of the car was not completely perfect but you adapt to it and we’ve been totally reliable, which is the main thing here,” said Fernandez. “Obviously I wasn’t taking any risks at all because we still have a long way to go. I was actually quite pleased with our pace though: we can stay close enough to the diesel Audis in the corners but then on the straights they blow us away. Still, this is what we expected so now we just have to get on with it.”

Just before 20:00, Fernandez handed over to Primat. The Swiss driver struggled with visibility after his windscreen was sprayed with oil by another car that had hit problems, and he also had a small contact against a fellow competitor while overtaking. However, Primat reported that his Aston Martin was still steering straight so no serious consequences are anticipated as the sun sets over Le Mans.

Sam Hancock enjoyed his first stints in the 009 car and showed impressively consistent pace during his opening run. “It was good, although I probably didn’t feel quite as comfortable behind the wheel as I did during practice and qualifying,” he said. “The most important thing though was that I had the time to settle myself into it and that we had a completely incident-free run. That makes me feel quite confident as we head into the night.”

Juan Barazi also used his first time in the car under race conditions to play himself into the action. Shortly after taking over, he reported a vibration from the wheels, so he made an extra stop for a precautionary tyre change. Afterwards he ran with no problems as the race headed into its seventh hour.

Vanina Ickx, the daughter of six-time Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx, took over Signature’s 008 car after Franck Mailleux’s mammoth opening stint and also enjoyed a trouble-free run, underlining the Aston Martin LMP1 car’s reputation for strong reliability.

The AMR Young Driver Aston Martin DBR9 that qualified on GT1 pole hit a setback when a driveshaft had to be changed, dropping it out of the lead battle. When the car re-joined, Christoffer Nygaard took it out for his very first experience of the Le Mans circuit in race conditions.

Unfortunately the GT2 Vantage of JMW Motorsport went off the track just before 21:00, with American Bryce Miller driving, and seems set to play no further part in proceedings.

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