Nurburgring: Larbre Competition race report

Fourth for Larbre Competition keeps championship hopes alive A solid fourth place finish from the Aston Martin DBR9 of Christophe Bouchut, Fabrizio Gollin and Gabriele Gardel kept Larbre Competition's Le Mans Series championship hopes alive at...

Fourth for Larbre Competition keeps championship hopes alive

A solid fourth place finish from the Aston Martin DBR9 of Christophe Bouchut, Fabrizio Gollin and Gabriele Gardel kept Larbre Competition's Le Mans Series championship hopes alive at the Nurburgring 1000kms.

Despite missing out on a podium finish for the first time this season by less than half a second, car 50 scored some important points at the German circuit, to remain just two points behind the leading Luc Alphand Adventures Corvette and the Team Oreca Saleen in the GT1-class standings.

Having started third in class on the grid, the team's DBR9 enjoyed fights with Team Modena's Aston Martin and Luc Alphand's Corvette throughout the race, although, as expected, the very quick Team Oreca's Saleen disappeared into the distance to take the class-win. In the dying laps, Frenchman Christophe Bouchut did his best to get on the podium, closing a big gap to Alphand's Jerome Policand, but just ran out of time as he tried to take the place.

Christophe Bouchut said "The balance of the car was good during my first stint and we didn't have any problems. The only thing was that the air conditioning system didn't seem to working very well and I got intoxicated! In my second stint though, the car was very difficult to drive. I gave it my best and pulled back 40 seconds on the third placed Corvette, but on the penultimate lap I got touched by Eric Van de Poele in the LMP2 Lola, losing two seconds, and that cost us a GT1 podium."

Gabriele Gardel said he struggled to find any clear air to set quick laps due to the huge volume of traffic on track. "It is incredible. You have to race the GT1 cars, overtake the GT2 cars and let the prototype cars go by and it is very difficult. I got forced onto the marbles by prototypes a few times and that makes your tyres dirty meaning it's a couple of laps before you can get back to doing competitive lap times. We've scored some good points though and we're still fighting hard for the championship".

Fabrizio Gollin offered his solution to the traffic-related problems. "It's hard to see what's behind you in the mirrors we used today. You see the marshals waving blue flags but you don't know why because you can't see anything, particularly as the prototype cars are so low! The Corvettes and the Saleens have a rear-facing camera with a screen in the car so they can see what's behind them. That is a real advantage in a race like this. The balance of the car was good in the race though, and I am happy with the job I did today because my lap times were quick and really consistent."

Meanwhile Car 51 scored championship points for the second consecutive race as Steve Zacchia, Gregory Franchi and Gregor Fisken brought their Aston Martin DBR9 home seventh in class. The drivers all admitted they had many challenges in traffic around the busy Nurburgring track.

Steve Zacchia, who made a good start from 29th overall on the grid said: "I made a good start and everything went according to plan. However, there was a lot of traffic out there and it was very difficult to get into a good rhythm. I got back in the car with 45 minutes of the race remaining, but struggled with a vibration on the straights and with some oversteer. However, the car set-up was much better than at Monza and Valencia so that is really encouraging."

Gregor Fisken was tapped into a spin by an LMP1 Lola during his stint, but took responsibility for the incident. "It was my fault," he admitted, refreshingly. "I saw him coming but thought I had time to negotiate the corner. Unfortunately I was too optimistic and got turned around and flat spotted the tyres. It's been a very tough day at the office because it's hard to find a rhythm in the traffic. We all improved as a team this weekend so we can look to build on this at Spa."

Belgian Gregor Franchi was pleased that his lap times were competitive compared with the other GT1 cars, as he continues to impress in his rookie-season of sports car racing. "With my first set of tyres I had a good rhythm and I was setting the same lap times as the drivers who were running second and third in the GT1 class. I then double-stinted and had some problems with the brakes and I started to lose a couple of seconds per lap. Overall it's been quite a difficult race but, from a personal perspective, I am delighted to have spent a lot of time in the car".

Credit: larbre

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