Nurburgring: Team Modena race report

Team Modena on Nurburgring Podium Team Modena claimed second place in the LM GT1 class at the third round of the 2007 Le Man Series at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany today. The result in the 1000km race moves Team Modena's Antonio Garcia ...

Team Modena on Nurburgring Podium

Team Modena claimed second place in the LM GT1 class at the third round of the 2007 Le Man Series at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany today. The result in the 1000km race moves Team Modena's Antonio Garcia to fourth in the driver's championship for the class - just four points off the lead - after sharing the team's Aston Martin DBR9 today with Christian Fittipaldi and taking 18th overall in the 50-car field.

It was a strong weekend for the rapid Aston Martin, the car qualifying second in class in Saturday's qualifying session after being a front-runner in the preceding Free Practice Sessions.

"We started the weekend with high hopes and knew we could do well here," said Team Principal Graham Schultz. "Our race strategy was perfect, Sergio Rinland, Hans Muhlbauer and Kerry Adams worked out how to keep us in the lead hunt, and we even managed to do two stints at one point on the soft slicks, which no-one thought we could do.

"Our pit work was great again this weekend, and during the race we made our fastest ever fuel, driver and tyre stop, which is a reward for the hard work and practice the guys have put in. I am really pleased with the weekend, it was a well-deserved second place, we kept the leader honest all race, and could have been on for the win if we had the full engine mapping that we want - we are down on power compared to some of the other Aston Martins."

Garcia took the start in the largely dry six-hour event and immediately found a problem with the traction control system, which he switched off after just half an hour. The two drivers adapted their driving style to suit the conditions, and were even able to take the lead of the class during the race, but after 180 laps the driver pairing finished 46 second behind the leader, with the third placed car less than 20 seconds further back - highlighting the pace and competitiveness of the LM GT1 runners.

"It was quite strange because we didn't know exactly what would happen, and I had some problems with the brakes at the end of the race too!" said Garcia of driving the powerful Aston Martin for five and a half hours without traction control. "It wasn't that easy to drive and I had to try to find another style, especially in the first part of the race when it was slow and slippery. We were really missing a lot of grip in first and second gear, but you just get used to it. It is a good job that it didn't rain, because that would have been more interesting!"

His co-driver Christian Fittipaldi, competing in only his second Le Mans Series race of the year, added: "I am getting used to the car, and the tyres. It is very sensitive and I am learning that. I had a good run today, though I had to change my driving style because there was no traction control, but that was good because it taught me a lot of other things about the car.

"My second stint was run at a pretty good pace, and at the end I had a good pace but I got a lot of traffic. You cannot afford to make any mistakes even in such a long race, there were no mechanical failures, and if you make a mistake in a period of six hours it will cost a lot."

Next LMS Race: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, August 18th / 19th.

-credit: team modena

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Antonio Garcia , Christian Fittipaldi