HEXIS AMR brings its pair of Aston Martins home in the team’s maiden 24-hour race

Monday, August 08, 2011

The Total 24 Hours of Spa is Europe’s second most famous and World’s second oldest endurance event. The 63rd edition was HEXIS AMR’s maiden twice-around-the-clock race. The team managed by Philippe Dumas went on to bring its pair of Aston Martins to the finish line, in valuable 8th and 15th positions, far ahead of the other DBRS9s entered. The n°4 car was still a potential podium finisher with two and a half hours to go, after running within the Top 4 for more than ten hours.

The n°3 entry of Yann Clairay, Pierre-Brice Mena and Julien Rodrigues suffered a few problems in early stages after starting from 33rd on the ultra-competitive 62-car grid. Yann Clairay moved up impressively to 8th in his opening double stint, but shortly afterwards, Julien Rodrigues ran straight into the gravel trap at “les Combes” due to a throttle failure. The car dropped to 40th place. A steering wheel problem and a collision at “La Source” hairpin also hampered the trio but then, everything went fine and the Frenchmen recovered to eventually score a strong 8th place overall and 6th in the GT3 Pro Cup class.

A small mistake by the team just before the start of the race could have had big consequences for the n°4 car. Fred Makowiecki nearly lost a front wheel during the warm-up lap. He couldn’t take advantage of his decent 11th place on the grid and had to start from the pitlane. Fred Mako, Henri Moser and Stef Dusseldorp had worked their way up to 4th by mid-distance and further improved to run 3rd until the latter clashed with the n°23 Audi, causing a power steering issue. The team’s effort to repair was rewarded by a 15th place across the line and a third consecutive points finish in the Blancpain Endurance Series.

Fred Mako (France): “Despite its lack of experience in endurance racing, the team did a perfect job in terms of strategy and pitstops. Most people had doubts about the Aston Martin’s reliability, but both cars made it to the finish line. We were P3 at 1pm and the podium was in sight… I am a bit disappointed but we can all be immensely proud of our achievement.”

Henri Moser (Switzerland): “The team worked hard to provide us a fast, consistent and comfortable car. We could avoid trouble until the 22nd hour… See you next year!”

Stef Dusseldorp (The Netherlands): “I feel tired but for my first 24 Hours of Spa, it was really good to experience long stints and driving in the night. We came a long way thanks to fast driving and good teamwork, it was great until this contact with the United Autosport Audi. It was the beginning of some trouble and we finished P15. I am happy to make it to the end, but it’s a shame to miss out on the podium.”

Yann Clairay (France): “Honestly the team deserves great respect after the enormous work they have done, the final result is far beyond our expectations. We only suffered minor technical problems. It’s been a tough race because we don’t have as many driver assistance systems as the most recent cars have.”

Pierre-Brice Mena (France): “I was well prepared but I must admit it was difficult. I want to thank the team, finishing in the Top 10 is nothing to be ashamed of in such a great race, with so many factory-supported cars on the grid.”

Julien Rodrigues (France): “We were not among the favourites so the result is a little bit of a surprise. The HEXIS AMR team worked hard over the past three months to impress in its first 24-hour race and it paid dividends.”

Clément Mateu, development manager: “I have mixed feelings because we lost the podium, but our two cars finished, and we played a part in a tough battle against experienced, highly-competitive and factory-backed teams.”

Philippe Dumas, team-manager: “I am very disappointed and very happy at the same time, but above all I am proud of what we’ve achieved together. We came with the aim to finish, we’ll be back for more, we’ll come back to win.”

HEXIS AMR is now looking forward to racing on home soil at Magny-Cours. Round 4 of the Blancpain Endurance Series will take place on 27th August.

Team’s website: www.hexis-amr.com Blancpain Endurance Series news, results, points, video: www.blancpain-endurance-series.com
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