SUNDAY 0900: ASTON MARTIN MECHANICS PROVE THEIR PACE
While Aston Martin maintains the lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours with the 009 car, the team's mechanics have proved that their pace is as good as that of the drivers, after they were forced to carry out rapid running repairs to the 007 entry.
Just after 0630 in the morning, Johnny Herbert was caught out in a train of traffic and had a brief excursion into the gravel trap. Although it was an undramatic incident, the front splitter was damaged and the Englishman had to return to the pits. On inspection it was discovered that the mounting brackets were bent, but despite this setback the mechanics did a top job to send Herbert back out again in just under eight minutes. This dropped 007 down to a provisional fourth place in GT1.
Aston Martin Chairman David Richards commented: "He had a slight off, which is a shame as the car was running so strongly. We spoke to Johnny and he said that he just lost concentration for a second while following the car in front. These things happen. We wanted to get it back on track as quickly as possible -- we lost some time but the team repaired the car quickly. The 009 car is still in front -- and sixth overall -- and we've already recovered ground with 007."
David Brabham, who drove 009 as the sun came up, said: "I feel sorry for them: they were going really well, but it's so easy for stuff like that to happen. From our point of view things are good -- the car actually feels better to drive than it did at the start of the race. The gearbox was a bit notchy to begin with but now it's bedded in really well."
The 008 AMR Larbre DBR9 is third in class after a solid night, while the AMR BMS car is sixth. Team Modena's DBR9 is making up ground after being struck by an LMP2 car during the night. There are still question marks over the weather, with initial reports suggesting more heavy rain before the end of the race.