A frustrating race for DAMS! It was no surprise that the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit provided a race full of thrills and upsets today. First of all, the weather was typically Spa. On the grid the question was whether it was going to ...
A frustrating race for DAMS!
It was no surprise that the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit provided a race full of thrills and upsets today. First of all, the weather was typically Spa. On the grid the question was whether it was going to rain or not. The race got under way in a light shower whose intensity varied on different parts of the circuit. This led to accidents on the first lap bringing out the safety car.
The Formula Le Mans were in the middle of the 49-car field, and they put on a good show taking advantage of their lightness. They were bunched up and when they were caught out by the yellow flags, it created a dangerous situation. The two top teams, Audi and Peugeot, lost cars almost straight away. Later on, a kind of anarchy reigned in the Raidillon at Eau Rouge. A few GTs tried to muscle their way through, and the DAMS-entered no.43 Oreca FLM prototype driven by Gary Chalandon was punted off into the tyre wall by an LM GT2 Porsche. There was nothing he could do. He managed to bring his badly-damaged car back to his pit.
With just 3 laps gone his race was already ruined. The team did a great job to put the car back in running order, and 25 minutes later Chalandon rejoined for a 22-lap stint. Unfortunately, the steering had been damaged, and as it created a big risk for the drivers, DAMS decided to withdraw the car.
Loïc David, General manager: Obviously, the race did not meet our expectations. Gary made a good start in tricky conditions. Unfortunately, after his crash, and despite the repairs carried out by the team, the steering could block or break and the only possible decision was to withdraw the car. It's a pity but the lads are looking forward to the next round full of enthusiasm and motivation."
Gary Chalandon: "I'm disgusted. I managed to get away well at the start and I was feeling good when the yellow flags were waved in the Raidillon. As I couldn't see, I immediately slowed and a GT1 overtook me. The driver realized his mistake and let me back in front. Then a couple of Porsche LM GT2s arrived on the scene, and one of them hit me and sent me into the tyre wall! I managed to bring the car back to the pits and the team repaired it. During my stint I felt the pinions grating as I turned the steering wheel. That was the end of the race."
Alessandro Cicognani: "Really very frustrating! We were feeling optimistic before the start and Gary did a good job in the opening laps. The accident and its consequences were a real pity. I hope that Lady Luck will smile on us in the next round."
Andrea Barlesi: "It's very annoying to see what happened to Gary. Of course, I'm disappointed not to have driven but we'll be all the more motivated for the next race."
Next round: Portimao (Portugal) 17th July.