SATURDAY 1800: ASTON MARTIN LEADS AFTER THREE HOURS The Aston Martin DBR9 number 009 leads the GT1 class after three hours of this year's Le Mans 24 Hours in what has already been an extremely eventful race. David Brabham started the car from...
SATURDAY 1800: ASTON MARTIN LEADS AFTER THREE HOURS
The Aston Martin DBR9 number 009 leads the GT1 class after three hours of this year's Le Mans 24 Hours in what has already been an extremely eventful race. David Brabham started the car from fourth place on the grid, but made up ground during his stint to claim third before handing over to Darren Turner -- who emerged from the pits in the lead.
The Team Modena DBR9 is currently third in the hands of Christian Fittipaldi, who took over from Antonio Garcia.
The Aston Martin Racing 007 DBR9 is close behind in fourth place, with Tomas Enge at the wheel after Peter Kox took the start. The mixed conditions that have characterised the build-up to the race so far continued once the lights turned green. The wet and slippery conditions meant that several drivers were caught out, including the number 3 Audi driven by Mike Rockenfeller -- who hit the wall hard close to Tertre Rouge but escaped unscathed.
The incident caused a safety car period that lasted in excess of half an hour, during which time a section of crash barrier was replaced and all the Aston Martins pitted to hand over to other drivers. Another big surprise was the retirement of Corvette number 64 -- one of Aston Martin's key rivals.
Peter Kox commented: "It's genuinely a real shame: we want to beat them but not this way. For me, the opening stint was really tricky. I was not so happy with the balance of the car under these mixed conditions, but our lap times were still quite good. It seems to be a very unpredictable race so far, but there's such a long way to go that I would not like to make any predictions."
The lengthy safety car period also had an effect on race strategy for all the teams, as the resulting slow speeds meant that competitors were able to save fuel and pit later than planned. However, with track conditions ranging from fully wet to drying on the same lap, choosing tyres was an extremely tough call. The track is currently drying, but more rain is expected later this evening before what is likely to be a largely dry night.
None of the Aston Martins have encountered any problems so far, although Brabham had a close encounter with a fellow competitor during the opening laps -- luckily with no damage to the leading 009 car.