Harold Primat Paul Ricard test preview

TESTING CONTINUES FOR PRIMAT AT PAUL RICARD Aston Martin Racing's Harold Primat returns to testing duties this weekend at Paul Ricard in France as preparations for the upcoming season continue to gather pace. The Swiss star will be back at...

TESTING CONTINUES FOR PRIMAT AT PAUL RICARD

Aston Martin Racing's Harold Primat returns to testing duties this weekend at Paul Ricard in France as preparations for the upcoming season continue to gather pace.

The Swiss star will be back at the wheel of his 009 Aston Martin LMP1 prototype for the two-day test this Sunday and Monday at the Le Castellet venue ahead of the upcoming Le Mans Series opener at the same circuit in just over a month's time.

Joining Harold will be regular team mates from last season Darren Turner, Stefan Mucke and Chris Buncombe, as well as the squad's winter recruit, reigning American Le Mans Series LMP2 champion Adrian Fernandez. The pair tested together at Sebring last week with the Mexican impressing in and out of the cockpit, Aston Martin ending both days on top of the timesheets.

Primat: "We worked really well together at Sebring. That certainly bodes well for the year ahead as harmony in the team definitely helps bring speed to the overall package. Not only has he integrated himself very quickly into the team but he's also got a lot of pace, experience and is a nice guy. He's also a team player so I'm feeling very positive about co-driving with him for at least three races and maybe at Le Mans as well."

Moving back to Europe, Harold and Aston Martin Racing will form part of the 40-strong field of prototypes and GTs that are set to test at Paul Ricard this weekend.

"We made a lot of progress in America with the team improving the car considerably over the two days. We ran very reliably there too, completing around 900 kilometres on the first day alone. In France, the objectives are slightly different. Sure, we'll prepare for the eight hour race there in April, but it's also important to conduct some specific Le Mans set-up work which we couldn't at Sebring. The track is certainly more suitable than in Florida which is very bumpy and not particularly quick."

Aston Martin chose 2009's Paul Ricard pre-season group test to debut its new LMP1 coupe. 12 months and a Le Mans Series title later, the team are keen to know where they stand in sportscar's pecking order.

"It definitely gives us a chance to check out the competition. We know the Audi and Peugeot diesels will be strong but as neither will be testing, our benchmark has to be ORECA's customer 908. We need to push to be as competitive. The Aston Martin looks the same as last season but with a year of development behind us thanks to a great team effort, as well as a slight change to the regulations governing diesel cars, we're hoping to be a lot closer. It'll be interesting to see how the Peugeot goes but there's also a lot of other good petrol cars and drivers in LMP1 now so it will be interesting to see where we stand. I feel that we have made progress but we will see at Paul Ricard."

Following this weekend's group test at Paul Ricard, Harold and Aston Martin Racing will head to Florida for the American Le Mans Series opener, the Sebring 12 Hours, on March 20.

-source: harold primat

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Series ELMS