AFTER 9 HOURS: ASTON MARTIN MAINTAINS TOP FIVE PLACE
As midnight approached at Le Mans, the number 007 Aston Martin held a top-five place, in the hands of German driver Stefan Mucke. Previously Jan Charouz completed a long triple stint, in night-time conditions that were dry and warm.
The 007 car has encountered no major problems so far, enabling it to lead the petrol class two laps clear of the next-quickest car. Furthermore, it is ahead of four of the diesel cars. The only glitch it has experienced is a minor problem with headlights shortly before midnight. Running at a competitive pace, the 007 car is still in touch with the factory diesel cars ahead, even though they enjoy a considerable performance advantage.
However, the number 008 Aston Martin, which had previously been running in fifth place and ran as high as third earlier in the race, encountered a setback at around 10pm when Darren Turner had an impact with a GT1 car. The consequent damage caused a heavy vibration, which resulted in several visits to the pits to assess and repair the problems. The front-left suspension upright was changed, which went some way towards curing the vibration.
Following the upright change, Turner re-joined in 12th place and was able to continue lapping at a competitive pace. He was due to be replaced by Jos Verstappen just after midnight.
After encountering some electrical and water leak problems earlier in the race, the 009 Aston Martin made up 16 places over three hours during a triple stint with Harold Primat at the wheel. The 009 car enjoyed a trouble free run in Primat's hands. As scheduled Primat handed over to Peter Kox just before midnight.
The Drayson Racing Vantage GT2 currently occupies 13th place in class after a consistent run, with Jonny Cocker currently at the wheel.