Mid-Ohio: Aston Martin Racing qualifying report

Pole position for Aston Martin Racing at Mid-Ohio Tomas Enge took pole position in the GT1 class at the third round of the American Le Mans Series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio today. The Czech...

Pole position for Aston Martin Racing at Mid-Ohio

Tomas Enge took pole position in the GT1 class at the third round of the American Le Mans Series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio today. The Czech driver drove his number 007 Aston Martin DBR9 around the 2.25 mile circuit in a time of 1m18.857s, a little under two tenths of a second ahead of team-mate Pedro Lamy, who will line up third in GT1 in the 009 Aston Martin DBR9 with a time of 1m19.041s.

The Aston Martin Racing team faced a challenge after the morning practice session when Lamy's DBR9 suffered a brake balance problem and left the track at high speed. The car became airborne over the kerbs before landing in the gravel trap and hitting the tyre wall. The car suffered superficial body and light suspension damage. The Aston Martin Racing team repaired the car in time for the afternoon session during which Enge spun the sister Aston Martin off the circuit into the gravel.

"It was my mistake," said Enge. "I did a good lap before with a lot of fuel and on used tyres and was really happy, so the next lap I wanted to go even faster, but I overdrove it and spun. Qualifying was a different story and everything went well. It took three laps to warm up the tyres properly. I was not 100 per cent with speed, but it was enough for pole. The next lap I had traffic and there was oil on the track, so I decided to stop and save the tyres for the race. This track suits us more than Sebring or Houston."

Lamy set his fastest time late in the qualifying session after battling with oversteer. "We had a problem with the tyre pressure, the right rear was too low," said Lamy. "Through the left corners the car was sliding, but we are third in class so we cannot complain about our position. I wasn't as fast as Tomas in this session, and while he is a very fast driver, I want to be quicker than him, like everybody else!"

Darren Turner drove during the morning practice only, and left the afternoon driving duties to his Czech co-driver, Enge. "We ended up quickest this morning, which wasn't so bad, but it took a long time for the tyres to come in," said Turner. "For the first three laps, I had too much understeer, and the team made a change when Tomas got into the car and he had oversteer. Somewhere between the two is a winner."

Stephane Sarrazin, who shares with Lamy, drove the car in the opening stages of the afternoon practice session and was happy with the repairs made by the team. "It was OK, we checked the car, we tried some different tyres, and the car was fine," said the Frenchman. "The mechanics did a very good job, and the car was exactly the same as the morning. It is a good qualifying session for the team. I will start the race tomorrow, and I hope that the tyres will be as consistent as they were today."

Aston Martin Racing's team principal George Howard-Chappell oversaw the repairs and commented: "The guys did a good job. It wasn't the smoothest of mornings, but that is racing sometimes and you have to deal with it. The team did a good job and so did the drivers. It looks as though it is going to be very close competition tomorrow during the race, and we are not sure how it will go later in the stints with the tyre wear, but it looks pretty even, so it should be a great race. From what I can see, it takes us slightly longer with the Pirellis to get heat into the tyres, but with some good warm-up laps, it should be no problem."

The race, which will last two hours and 45 minutes, starts on Sunday May 21 at 12:00pm EDT.

-www.astonmartinracing.com

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Tomas Enge , Stéphane Sarrazin , Pedro Lamy
Teams Aston Martin Racing