5th PLACE IN SPAIN FOR SUGDEN
The final round of the 2006 Le Mans Series at Jarama (Madrid) in Spain on Sunday yielded a 5th place for Tim Sugden and Dan Eagling in their Virgo Ferrari F430 after an incident packed race. Tim had qualified the car on 3rd place on the grid, just 5 hundredths off second and less than 4 tenths off pole.
At the start Tim took second and held off the GPC Ferrari F430 whilst the Autorlando Porsche driven by factory driver Mark Lieb slowly pulled away at the front. With 38 cars in 4 classes on a tight track in the 6 hour race there were plenty incidents but the main problem found by many teams was the rapid drop off in performance of the tyre choice. Tim's first set of tyres lost considerable grip after about 15 laps and the other Ferrari got past as he ran wide on a fast corner.
As Dan Eagling took over for the second stint the team were able to change the tyre selection slightly and the car ran consistantly in the top 4 with the Porsche retiring with gearbox trouble. The middle part of the race saw Tim run a double stint and the car run as high as 3rd but an incident with a GT1 competitor caused a spin and dropped the car to 6th before Dan took over for the last 50 minutes, finishing 5th at the end.
This result leaves the team on 19 points for the season and in 4th place. The objective was to finish in the top 2 to secure an entry to the prestigious Le Mans 24 hour race in 2007 and another 3 points would have done that. The team scored points in every round and was consistently quick and for their first season at this international level can feel reasonably satisfied.
Tim now goes on to Budapest for round 8 of the FIA GT Championship at the Hungaroring in the JMB GruppeM Ferrari with which he had a third place at Mugello last time out