After 15 hours: Aston Martin maintains clean sweep of petrol runners
Le Mans, 13 June 2010. As dawn broke over the La Sarthe region, the Aston Martin LMP1 cars maintained their stranglehold over the top three 'petrol' places in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Thanks to a mixture of good speed and promising reliability, Stefan Mucke is still seventh in 007 while Darren Turner is eighth in 009. The 008 car, run by French team Signature, is 10th in the hands of Vanina Ickx.
All three drivers were the ones who started the race 15 hours ago, now taking part in their third stints of the endurance epic.
One of the most impressive aspects of the V12-powered Aston Martins is the level of reliability achieved over the 240 laps or so run up to now. Once more, the cars have avoided any major setbacks, stopping only for the well-rehearsed routine of fuel and tyres.
Harold Primat handed the 007 car over to Stefan Mucke , having experienced no problems at all during his early morning stints. "I'd say that we were where we hoped to be," he commented. "I've really enjoyed driving the car in these conditions and we've not had any major issues."
Primat gave the car to Mucke at 04:16, just as the first light of dawn was beginning to break through the night sky. The German driver pushed hard to open up an advantage over the following 009 car and get closer to the diesel challengers in front, occasionally outpacing them.
"That was just a double stint, but during the night I did four stints in a row, so it's not a big deal," said Mucke. "It's good that the car is still running reliably, so I'm very happy. Now the sun is coming up so you feel closer to the end -- but there's still a very long way to go."
Juan Barazi completed another successful stint before handing over to Turner at 04:03. Barazi managed to set consistent times and returned the car to the pits without incident having successfully fought off the advances of the diesel-powered car behind.
"The key thing is to keep a sensible pace," said Barazi. "There's still a huge distance to cover in this race so you have to always bear that in mind. From our point of view we had no real problems and that's a really good thing."
With the Signature car claiming third place in the unofficial petrol class, Aston Martin is comfortably clear of its closest challengers and so far on course to achieve its goal of becoming the highest-placed petrol-powered car in the class.
In GT1, six-time Le Mans pole-sitter Tomas Enge is now third, driving the Young Driver AMR DBR9. The car had no delays during the night and was able to make significant inroads into its rivals.
With the sun now coming up, drivers face an additional challenge as the low light can easily distract them; especially in the challenging Dunlop Curves at the start of the lap.
-source: aston martin