Nurburgring: Larbre Competition preview

Larbre Competition targeting victory at Nurburgring after strong Le Mans showing Larbre Competition is targeting victory and the championship lead at this weekend's third round of the Le Mans Series at the Nurburgring after a stunning showing at...

Larbre Competition targeting victory at Nurburgring after strong Le Mans showing

Larbre Competition is targeting victory and the championship lead at this weekend's third round of the Le Mans Series at the Nurburgring after a stunning showing at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Pole position and a place on the podium showed the strength of the team at La Sarthe, and they are now looking to carry that performance into the Le Mans Series as the team's lead Aston Martin DBR9 looks to wrest the championship lead away from the Luc Alphand Adventures Corvette C6R.

Car 50's drivers Christophe Bouchut, Fabrizio Gollin and Gabriele Gardel lie just two-points behind in second place in the GT1-class drivers' championship and following second and third place finishes at Monza and Valencia in the opening two rounds, are targeting the top step of the podium in Germany.

"We need to win," admitted Gabriele Gardel, who won the GT1 class at the Nurburgring with Larbre last year. "We've had solid second and third place finishes so far this season, but now we want victory so we can lead the championship. It's so important to get the right set-up though and that means we need to work hard in practice on Friday. If you have the optimum set-up at the Nurburgring you can enjoy a really strong race, but if you don't, then you're set for a hard time!"

Italian co-driver Fabrizio Gollin agreed with his Swiss team-mate. Fabrizio, who scored a career-best second place finish at the Nurburgring in his F3000 days said: "It's crucial to have maximum downforce and if you can set the car up to run flat through the chicane after the hairpin you can gain a lot of time there. Nurburgring is a good circuit because it's smooth with no bumps and you can really use the kerbs to pinch some extra tenths as they aren't too high and don't punish the car."

Christophe Bouchut has also enjoyed a class-win at the Nurburgring and hopes the performance the team enjoyed at Le Mans can be carried to Germany. "In Valencia the Aston Martin wasn't in a position to fight with the Saleen and the Corvette, but at Le Mans we were very competitive. It's difficult to say what the situation will be at the Nurburgring, but we have to believe we can win. The goal for us is to win the championship and for that we need wins so I hope this will be the weekend we will achieve our first victory."

Meanwhile, after bouncing back from Monza's DNF to score crucial points in Valencia, Car 51 of Greg Franchi, Gregor Fisken and Steve Zacchia, is targeting its first top-five finish of the season. With the new air conditioning system, which car 50 first ran in Valencia, now in place on the sister car, bringing with it larger restrictors and an increase in power, the car should continue its improving performances.

Frenchman Steve Zacchia said: "We are reaching the half-way point of the season now and so we must score points in every race. The air conditioning system should help to improve the performance of the car and the Nurburgring is a circuit I like and have done well at in both the Le Mans Series and Formula Renault. I just can't wait to get back behind the wheel of the DBR9 because it seems like a long time since Valencia!"

Like Steve, Belgian Greg Franchi admitted he couldn't wait to go racing again after a two-month break in the Le Mans Series. "I'm really fired up to be back in the car. I have only ever race at the Nurburgring in single-seaters, but last year in the World Series by Renault, I was consistently in the top-five during practice and qualifying. Obviously it's hard for me to say exactly what set-up we need for a GT car at this stage, but if we get it right I think we can challenge for a top-five finish."

Gregor Fisken, the only member of the Car 51 driver line-up to have contested the Le Mans 24 hours in the Aston Martin, feels that that experience will stand him in good stead for the remainder of the Le Mans Series season. "I feel a lot more at one with the car having got some proper seat time at Le Mans, my engine is still warm! Of course I am under no illusions as to how tough the GT1 class is but I have two very impressive team-mates, a familiar car and a circuit which will suit us far more than Valencia. I think we have a strong package this weekend."

-credit: larbre competition

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Fabrizio Gollin , Luc Alphand , Christophe Bouchut , Gregor Fisken , Gabriele Gardel , Steve Zacchia , Greg Franchi
Teams Larbre Competition