After 12 Hours: Aston Martin Reaches Halfway Point at Le Mans Without Incident
Le Mans, 13 June 2010. The two Works Aston Martins have been racing for 12 hours, with both cars showing pace and reliability in what is widely acknowledged to be the toughest motor race in the world. Adrian Fernandez completed his second set of stints without incident before handing over 007 to Harold Primat, in seventh overall.
It was a similar story for the 009 car, which is shadowing its stable mate in eighth place. Darren Turner drove until just after midnight, with Sam Hancock then taking over driving duties before handing over to Juan Barazi.
The 008 car, run by the Signature team from France, is also running well, with Frenchman Pierre Ragues currently in 10th, having made up a place. He took over from Vanina Ickx, who completed a highly impressive double stint.
Stefan Mucke -- who drove a long stint immediately before Fernandez in 007 -- was his usual fast and consistent self, adapting his driving style to the changing conditions. Track temperatures are now falling off rapidly, meaning that the soft tyres are currently the better choice, enabling the cars to lap progressively quicker.
"No problems at all for me; just a couple of things with the balance but really nothing serious," said Mucke. "In fact, the only thing that we couldn't deal with straight away was the fact that towards the end of my stint I was getting hungry!"
Fernandez reported a tyre vibration and also had a quick trip into the gravel just before entering the pit lane to have the tyres changed. From then on, he was able to complete his triple stint without incident, enjoying the experience of driving the Aston Martin LMP1 car at night.
Turner lost about a minute when he braked too late and had to take a detour down an escape road, before selecting reverse gear and eventually regaining the track. That aside, he too had no problems to speak of.
"I just got a bit out of shape when that happened, and that was because the hard tyres weren't ideally suited for the cooler conditions," he said. "We subsequently went onto softer tyres that gave us more grip. Apart from that, so far so good. It's great to have got this far without any major problems and now we just have to keep going like this."
Turner then headed off to his motor home on the circuit, having set his alarm for 03:45 in preparation for his next stint behind the wheel. Hancock did a great job in 009, setting similar times to his team mates despite having much less experience of the car. "I only had one hiccup: I locked up the right-front after getting unsighted in traffic and flat-spotted the tyre, which needed to be changed," he said. "But overall it was good."
The Englishman handed 009 over to Juan Barazi at 02:20. Barazi briefly lost power when he got into the car, but this turned out to be simply down to an incorrect setting on one of the systems and the problem was rectified without the need for an extra pit stop.
The GT1 battle has continued into the small hours, and Danish driver Christoffer Nygaard is currently fifth in class with the Young Driver AMR Aston Martin DBR9.
-source: aston martin