PRIMAT DELIGHTED WITH DEBUT DAYTONA 24 HOURS DESPITE TECHNICAL PROBLEMS Thirty-year old sports car driver Harold Primat was delighted with his performance at the wheel of the Spirit of Daytona Team's Crawford Pontiac, despite a forced...
PRIMAT DELIGHTED WITH DEBUT DAYTONA 24 HOURS DESPITE TECHNICAL PROBLEMS
Thirty-year old sports car driver Harold Primat was delighted with his performance at the wheel of the Spirit of Daytona Team's Crawford Pontiac, despite a forced retirement when the engine failed only two hours before the end of America's famous 24-hour race. The Geneva-based driver raced faultlessly throughout the weekend, setting regular lap times during the practice sessions and throughout his three two-hour stints in the race.
A delighted Primat commented after the race: "The race was two hours too long for us! It is a real shame as we had been looking after the car all weekend. Things were looking very good at half distance when we lay comfortably in the top ten with no problem whatsoever and it looked like a top six finish was on the cards. In the early hours of Sunday, we started to have problems with the power steering which was playing up and we lost a lot of positions, but the crew did a great job and we were able to rejoin the race. We were working our way back up the field early on Sunday but unfortunately the engine gave up at 10:21am when Doug, one of my co-drivers, was in the car.
Despite the disappointment Harold Primat, who is happy with his first experience at Daytona, said: "The Daytona 24 Hours is one of the biggest endurance races in the world and the 2006 edition was just amazing. The Grand'Am organisers did a great job and attracted many of the top professional drivers from the IRL, Champ Cars, Nascar and Le Mans Series. It was the strongest ever driver field and it was a great honour for me to race against these guys, and to have the Nascar star Bobby Labonte as a team-mate was just fantastic. The event was well promoted and there was a lot of entertainment for the spectators both on- and off-track."
Troy Flis, Team Manager said: "We are very pleased with Harold's performance; he did a great job and kept the car out of danger -- which is big thing in that race -- and was consistent with his lap times. He drove the car carefully and didn't abuse it in any way and he was still extremely fast with his lap times, driving at the race pace we aimed for. In his first stint, he got up to speed, felt comfortable and gained in confidence and the next two stints he double-stinted and he was extremely consistent. We are disappointed that the parts of the car that failed are things that have never failed on any other cars over the last two years. Without the power steering problems we would have been a lot better off, we were right on track at the 12-hour mark after everybody had driven the car and everything was running superbly, we had done 350 laps and the goal was to do 700 in total!"
Primat concluded: "I will definitely be back next year and I might do a few more Grand'Am races this year to gain even more experience. The week at Daytona was great, I made a lot of contacts and it was very productive. I would like to thank the Spirit of Daytona team for giving me this opportunity, the crew did a fantastic job throughout the week and I enjoyed the time spent with them. I also had a great time with my three team mates; Doug Goad, Bobby Labonte and Larry Oberto and I would like to thank them as well. Finally I would like to express my gratitude to Stephane Gregoire for his support and for helping me meeting the right people in the paddock."