Houston: Aston Martin Racing qualifying report

Aston Martin Racing qualifies third and fourth in Houston Aston Martin Racing will start the second round of the American Le Mans Series in Houston, Texas, from third and fourth positions in the GT1 class, after the inaugural ...

Aston Martin Racing qualifies third and fourth in Houston

Aston Martin Racing will start the second round of the American Le Mans Series in Houston, Texas, from third and fourth positions in the GT1 class, after the inaugural qualifying session around the 1.7-mile street circuit.

In ambient temperatures of 28 degrees Celsius and track temperatures of 35 degrees, Tomas Enge set a time of 1m08.427s in his number 007 Aston Martin DBR9, two tenths of a second ahead of his team-mate Stephane Sarrazin in the 009 DBR9. Both drivers are looking forward to what promises to be an eventful race into dusk tomorrow night (Friday, May 12) around the concrete- lined circuit set in the grounds of the Reliant Stadium, home to the Houston Texans American football team.

"It is a difficult track, a bit bumpy, a difficult challenge," said Enge. "If you go off the line to overtake someone into a corner there is no grip. We must run without any problems, without any mistakes, and then anything can happen here during the race."

His co-driver Darren Turner added: "It has been eight weeks since I have driven this car, at Sebring in March, and it is nice to get back into it. The track is like an arcade game; it is fast, challenging for everyone and there are a lot of bumps, especially into the braking zones. It will be a race of attrition and there will almost certainly be some drama."

Sarrazin's qualifying time, a 1m08.629s lap was fourth fastest in the GT1 class, but the Frenchman was confident that his Aston Martin DBR9 was well set up for the two hour, 45-minute race. "It was OK, the car was good, but I was in traffic," said Sarrazin of his qualifying lap. "I lost quite a few tenths, but we have a good car and we can do very well."

Pedro Lamy will contest the Houston race on Friday night for Aston Martin Racing, and on Saturday will catch a flight to Belgium to contest the second round of the Le Mans Series at Spa with the Larbre Competition Aston Martin team. "The Corvettes are very fast and so the race will be very hard for us," said the Portuguese driver, who tested different tyre compounds in practice. "We just have to go as fast as we can and see how it plays out. We will try to get into a good rhythm and then see how the Pirelli tyres work against the competition."

Aston Martin Racing Team Principal George Howard-Chappell commented: "Operationally it all went well. The guys did a good job, but we are a bit off the pace. We don't have any data for this track, so we are picking that up on the way. The track surface is very rough, but street circuits typically are difficult to get the hang of. Trying to select the right tyres with minimal running is quite difficult but it is the same for everyone.

"Overall, the car is reasonably well set-up. Looking at the data there was a much better lap in the car, but other competitors are no doubt saying the same thing. Luck can come into it, but the race is about making no mistakes and doing a good job."

-amr-

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Tomas Enge , Darren Turner , Pedro Lamy
Teams Aston Martin Racing , Larbre Competition