Signature Plus: Strong performance in Le Mans

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Signature Plus enjoyed a competitive and consistent performance in this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, but a late incident saw the team's top eight potential evaporate with less than five hours of the race remaining.

After the rigours of the night-time stints, Pierre Ragues took control of the 008 Lola Aston Martin for the first daylight stint on Sunday morning followed by Franck Mailleux. After a double stint, it was Vanina Ickx who took over driving duties, but an unusual crash on her out lap caused irreparable damage to the chassis, forcing Signature to bring a heartbreaking end to their race.

All three Signature drivers performed excellently throughout Saturday and during the night with the usual diligent support from the team, but it was an ultimately disappointing end to the team's second participation in the prestigious Le Mans event.

At the time of the crash, Signature had worked their way into the top eight and with further retirements as the race drew to a close, the team was on its way to a marked improvement over its 11th place in last year's race.

Franck Mailleux “Like the entire team, I am devastated with the way our second Le Mans participation has ended so abruptly. We had shown a really strong performance up to that point with some consistent and competitive stints, which had allowed us to reach a comfortable eighth position with less than five hours left. I was scheduled to complete just one more stint before the end of the race, so a lot of my own work was complete. I feel very sorry for the team after all the outstanding hard work that they have put into this event. The emotions certainly run high, but we have a lot of positives to take away. The support of Aston Martin and Dunlop was exceptional and I hope we have done them proud. I am definitely pleased with all we have achieved this weekend. It is just such a shame we do not have that final result to show for the efforts.”

Pierre Ragues “We are all absolutely heartbroken with the final outcome to our 24 Hours of Le Mans. We had shown a good pace with some consistent runs on Saturday afternoon and into the night, so it is a really unpleasant and unrepresentative conclusion. I had a good feeling from the car in each of my stints, and the team was really fantastic to resolve the small issues that we had quickly and professionally to minimise disruption to the race. We battled back into the top ten and eventually into the top eight, which is where I believe we belonged, but unfortunately we were denied in the final hours. It is a shame but I think we showed what potential this Aston Martin-Signature package has and as a team we can be proud of our achievements, even if the end result was missing.”

Vanina Ickx "In the first lap of my fourth stint, I surprised myself at the first chicane on the Mulsanne Straight and landed in the tyre barrier. It's an error on my part, no excuse. There's nothing to add... Thanks to Eric, our engineer, I was able to get the car back to the pits, but the tub had been damaged... Never has disappointment been so bitter. Because of the hard work and all the sacrifices made for these 24 Hours of Le Mans. It's even heavier for me since I was responsible for the disappointment of the team and to Pierre and Franck, who had driven such a good race. The result was almost served on a silver platter. "
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