With the GT1 championship battle impossibly close in the Le Mans Series, Larbre Competition will be hoping the vast and successful experience of both the team and their driver line-up at Spa-Francorchamps will give them the edge as round 4 of the...
With the GT1 championship battle impossibly close in the Le Mans Series, Larbre Competition will be hoping the vast and successful experience of both the team and their driver line-up at Spa-Francorchamps will give them the edge as round 4 of the 2007 season heads to the Belgian circuit.
Larbre Competition have won the Spa 24 Hours on two occasions, whilst the drivers in their lead Aston Martin DBR9, Fabrizio Gollin, Christophe Bouchut and Gabriele Gardel, boast five victories at the prestigious endurance race plus numerous podiums in both the 24 Hours and Spa 1000kms. The trio's most recent success came last month when Italian Gollin took overall victory at the 24 Hours at the wheel of Carsport Holland's Corvette C6-R.
Having secured podium finishes at every round of the Le Mans Series so far, Car 50 lies second in the championship standings at the halfway point of the season, just three points adrift of the lead Corvette of Luc Alphand Adventures, and determined to narrow that gap further in Belgium.
Fabrizio Gollin: "Having now driven the Corvette it will be interesting to compare its performance with the Aston Martin on the same circuit and with the same Michelin tyres. The main difference however will be the traffic as, unlike the FIA GT Championship, GT1 isn't the fastest class in the Le Mans Series so you have to constantly be aware of the prototypes lapping you."
Christophe Bouchut: "Spa is one of my favourite circuits. It's quick and technical and one of the very few tracks to have broadly stuck to its original layout. It's always a challenge to fight with the car in sections such as Eau Rouge and Blanchimont. It's important to have a well balanced car, which doesn't hurt the tyres too badly, but you have to remember that the weather is so unpredictable at Spa and that could be a crucial factor."
Gabriele Gardel: "The circuit looks set to be a good one for Aston Martin. We saw in the 24 Hours of Spa that the Jet Alliance team were really quick until they had some technical problems. Corvette may be the favourites but we need to show we can compete for wins. I haven't driven the new Bus Stop section yet, but luckily both my team mates have and that should really help us."
Car 51 meanwhile is also targeting a strong result following successive sixth place finishes at Valencia and the Nurburgring. Gregor Fisken has huge experience of Spa in both modern and historic racing and Steve Zacchia is a former class-winner of the Spa 1000kms. Meanwhile, Belgian Gregory Franchi returns to his home circuit after a strong sixth place finish in last month's 24 Hour race in a Corvette C6-R.
Gregory Franchi: "It's always special to race in your own country and we hope to be competitive here. Along with Monaco, Spa is my favourite circuit, but it's a tough challenge because you can't afford to make mistakes in the quick corners. To have raced in the 24 Hours last month should be a big help because I had never driven a GT car at Spa before and I don't think the Corvette and the Aston Martin are too dissimilar."
Steve Zacchia: "It's important to have good downforce but also straight line speed at Spa. Eau Rouge isn't quite flat in a GT car, but the grip around there is so good that you can still go pretty quickly! The exit is blind and really fast and it makes it quite impressive. It's not been the easiest season so far for us so to challenge for a podium at Spa would be fantastic."
Gregor Fisken: "I've particularly enjoyed driving the Aston Martin at the bigger circuits such as Le Mans and Monza, and so it will be good to race at Spa which is another classic track. Eau Rouge is one of my favourite corners in the whole world and I can't wait to let the car off the leash down the big straight. I think driving the DBR9 at Spa will be a lot of fun."