Monza: Liz Halliday race report

Liz Halliday's European season began with a strong performance at the 2007 Le Mans Series opener at Monza. The California-born dual sportswoman partnered Spaniard Antonio Garcia in Team Modena's Aston Martin DBR9, scoring crucial championship...

Liz Halliday's European season began with a strong performance at the 2007 Le Mans Series opener at Monza.

The California-born dual sportswoman partnered Spaniard Antonio Garcia in Team Modena's Aston Martin DBR9, scoring crucial championship points by finishing fourth in the GT1 class and narrowly missing a podium place in the ultra-competitive category.

Despite suffering problems with understeer, the Team Modena car battled hard with the works Aston Martin of Larbre Competition in the early stages and whilst they ultimately missed out on a top-three finish, still defeated both of the ultra-quick Saleens to make a solid start to the championship.

Halliday drove two consistent stints in the 1000km race, despite having to endure soaring temperatures in the car after breaking her cool-shirt, and felt she'd made significant improvements in only her second race at the wheel of the DBR9. "I was really pleased with my second stint in particular. I feel like I'm settling into the car now and learning about it all the time as I'm driving. I thought I managed the traffic much better than in Sebring and was more consistent with my lap times, which was really pleasing. Now I just want to keep pushing and improving over the next few races.

"I did make a couple of little mistakes, but that is all part of the learning process because the circuit was so busy at the beginning of the race. The competition in the GT1 class is really tough, but the car ran trouble-free and the team did a great job so all things considered I think we can be really happy with the result."

Halliday's team-mate Garcia, who posted GT1's second-fastest lap in his final stint with a 1m 47.164s said: "I was stuck behind the Larbre Competition Aston Martin of Christophe Bouchut early on but I didn't have the down force at the front so I couldn't follow him at critical parts of the circuit, such as the Parabolica. For my second stint my lap times were competitive but again when I was catching the other cars I could not follow them very well and I had to pit for new tyres."

Team Principal Graham Shultz felt the team's strategy may have ultimately cost them a podium finish. "We got the strategy wrong to a degree but overall it was a good team effort. The team gelled and it was a smooth working weekend. It would have been hard to beat the Corvettes anyway because they are good cars, run by a good team. They were on song and it was their day today."

-credit: www.lizhalliday.com

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Series ELMS