One of the Care Racing supported Ferrari 550 Maranellos fell just one spot short of grabbing a podium finish in the 73rd annual 24 Hours of Le Mans today.
As blistering heat began to take its toll on the opposition, the two Ferrari 550s continued to perform strongly. At the chequered flag, the Larbre Racing #51 entry finished in 4th place in GT1 (13th overall) -- unlucky to be beaten into the final podium spot after the last remaining Aston Martin returned to the track in the final five minutes of the race to claim third.
Russian Age Racing also brought their 550 Maranello to the finish despite the fierce 34 degree heat, finishing in 5th place in the GT1 class and 18th overall. Only 27 of the 50 starters made it to the chequered flag after 24 hours.
The Cirtek-run team battled through to the finish despite late race dramas which included an unscheduled pit stops for a broken front splitter, a flat tyre and a broken bonnet pin. The Larbre team's run to the finish wasn't without drama either -- a flat tyre and second stop to replace the rear aerodynamic diffuser.
However, the biggest problem facing the teams was the heat which badly affected the drivers and restricted them to single stints in the late stages of the race.
Vincent Vosse -- Larbre Competition
"This was certainly one of the hottest races I have ever done -- it was very difficult in the car towards the end of the race. I had a lot of cramps which made it very difficult. I had to cover myself in damp towels, ice and put my feed in cold water after I got out of the car for the final time. It was a great effort by Patrice, Olivier and all the guys from the Larbre crew. We were the first non-factory team home and came very close to getting a podium finish."
Jack Leconte -- Team Principal Larbre Competition
"I am very proud of the guys because it was very tough for them in the car. They lost a lot of water, salt and energy and it very difficult to maintain concentration under those conditions. The Larbre team performed very well and I am delighted that they looked at every precaution for the race to ensure we were able to keep everything at the right temperature -- both the drivers, and fluids like oil and water."
Alexey Vasiliev -- Russian Age Racing (Cirtek)
"I feel dead! This was definitely one of the toughest races I have ever done. With the warm weather and the heat and fumes coming back from the engine, it was very difficult inside the car -- I did not feel well at all. But, getting to the finish was our goal and we achieved that. We knew a podium finish was going to be difficult, but completing the 24 Hours is like a race win for us. I am proud we made no mistakes and we represented Russia well. It is an honour to see the Russian flag on the pit building here and see some Russian fans back home. This will be big news back home."
Rob Schirle -- Team Principal Russian Age Racing
"Our boys worked brilliantly throughout the nice -- I am very proud they got the car to the finish because we certainly faced lots of challenges through the night. It is fantastic for everybody at Russian Age Racing to take the chequered flag, and it was a great experience for Nikolay (Fomenko) to be in the car at the finish of the 24 Hours."