Le Mans . June 19, 2005: Aston Martin Racing today finished third in the GT1 class in a dramatic return to the world-famous Le Mans 24 Hour endurance race.
The number 59 Aston Martin DBR9 took the chequered flag at 4pm with Stephane Sarrazin at the wheel in front of his home crowd. Stephane, along with co-drivers David Brabham and Darren Turner completed 333 laps in extreme temperatures at the La Sarthe circuit.
The car had experienced a problem with its radiator with less than ninety minutes to go, but this was repaired in time to allow Stephane to complete the final stint up to the chequered flag and so take third in the GT1 class and ninth overall.
Sister car number 58, driven by Tomas Enge, Peter Kox and Pedro Lamy had been leading the GT1 class, but dropped down to fourth due to a damaged splitter and later succumbed to a fuel related problem in the final ninety minutes of the race.
Team Director, David Richards said: "One must accept these things in motorsport. We gave it everything, but it wasn't to be this time.
"We need a bit more testing and a few more races under our belts but we will be back. We were determined that number 59 would finish as a thank you for the tremendous support Aston Martin Racing has received over this weekend.
"We thought it fitting that Stephane should finish the race on his home circuit."
Dr Ulrich Bez, Chairman and Chief Executive of Aston Martin said: "We arrived with tremendous enthusiasm but with the recognition that this was a development year for us. We came here to learn, and despite some setbacks we gave them a run for their money and finished the race with a credible podium finish in our class. We'll be back!"
The GT1 class was won by Chevrolet Corvette number 64, with sister car number 63 second.
This result for Aston Martin now adds another class podium to the two class wins and second place already achieved since Aston Martin returned to international sportscar racing in March 2005.