Blackthorn AMR win at Le Mans (in Road to Le Mans)

Saturday, June 15, 2024


An earlier than expected second race of the Michelin Le Mans Cup Road to Le Mans package proved itself to be a case of second time lucky for one of the three Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3’s entered although the calamities on track again marred the experience.

Starting thirty minutes earlier than expected thanks to the cancellation of the preceding Lamborghini race (tyre safety), the fifty-six remaining LMP3 and GT3 cars again took to the Circuit de La Sarthe for their second fifty-minute encounter.

Using the qualifying times entered by Thursdays second Qualifying run, this race would see the #95 Racing Spirit of Leman and #90/91 cars from the Blackthorn AMR team starting from the mid pack of the GT3 grid having had the amateur side of the pairing set these times.

Another thunderous start saw both the LMP3 and GT3 frontrunners bump and bash their way through the opening sequence of corners at the Dunlop Bridge that allowed the #95 RSLM Aston to pick up the class lead with the two Blackthorn cars also making up for lost ground.

However, halfway around the opening lap, LMP3 indiscipline and ability again saw multiple LMP3 cars stopped both on and off track bringing out the Safety Car for the first time. Fortunately, a speed clear up operation this time around, the race was soon back to green before the implementation of a Slow Zone along the start/finish straight soon caused carnage of its own as drivers failed to notice the marshal signs and flags but at least it was a first flying lap without intervention.

At that stage, the #95 car of DeBoer had dropped to P4 in class whilst the #91 Blackthorn car of Berry was up to P8 and the #90 car of Bovet in P12.

On lap four the Safety Car was again out for another stranded LMP3 car but that allowed all those approaching pit lane next time around to make their stop which the #90 car of Berry and Hanafin did whilst the other two Aston’s did not. That again allowed the #90 car to make the jump next time around as they did in race 1 before time penalties came their way.

Getting back to green with just over fifteen minutes remaining, the #90 Blackthorn car was holding P3 overall and P1 in class as the pursuing LMP3 field made their way passed the Grid Motorsport by TF ELMS driver as more cars stopping on track (and the resulting Slow Zones) again helping the cause of the #90 car on track.

With just a final four-minute burst of action to the flag, the #90 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3 of Martin Berry and Lorcan Hanafin finally completed what they had threatened to do in race 1 but pulling off a confirmed race win in class with the #95 RSLM of Derek DeBoer and Valentin Hasse-Clot close behind again (this time) in P4 with the #91 Blackthorn AMR of Claude Bovet and David McDonald P15 in class.

With thankfully fewer, less serious causes of Race Control intervention, Race 2 of the Road to Le Mans provided what the series is capable of in terms of entertainment and action.

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