Corvette eventually won a race long four-way battle for honours in the GT2 class. The two Corvette Racing CR6 cars interchanged places regularly with the two Aston Martins but problems near the end of the race for both Aston Martins handed the ...
Corvette eventually won a race long four-way battle for honours in the GT2 class. The two Corvette Racing CR6 cars interchanged places regularly with the two Aston Martins but problems near the end of the race for both Aston Martins handed the series win to Corvette.
The #64 Corvette Racing C6R of Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen suffered two left-rear punctures at the hands of Oliver Gavin within one hour which dropped it down to seventh place. It returned to the lead shortly before midnight and spent the morning battling closely with the #58 Aston Martin and the #63 Corvette, inheriting the lead when the Aston Martins dropped out.
"The heat throughout the race was tough and the pace of the Aston was amazing - they really pushed hard the whole race," said Olivier Gavin. "But the real key thing for us was to stick to our game plan and we did that and we pushed as hard as we could and Olivier and Jan did a fantastic job with the car. We had no offs, no dings, nothing. We had two punctures but I don't know what caused them. Olivier did an amazing job hanging onto the car after having a puncture in the Porsche Curves. He brought the car back without even a scratch on it!"
The #63 Corvette Racing C6R of Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Max Papis started in fifth place and moved up to the lead of the class by midway through the evening. The team were able to run consistantly and spent a lot of time battling with the #58 Aston Martin and picked up second place in towards the end.
"We really had to push 200% - every single lap was like a qualifying lap", said Papis. "We knew that would be the only way to beat the Aston Martins. We knew that we had a better routine that we could count on. I think today the race was won by preparation - comfort is an important thing, feeling good in the car and having a reliable car was the most important thing. I think that's what won the race for us."
The #58 Aston Martin of Tomas Enge, Peter Kox and Pedro Lamy had a relatively uneventful race in the early stages. The car started in pole position in the class but dropped down to third over the first hour. The car returned to the lead by the second hour and overcame a challenge from the Corvette Racing pair to lead overnight. In the middle of the morning the team was forced to pit to have the spoiler fixed dropping the team down to third place. Unfortunately with 90 minutes to go Enge suddenly started weaving slowly before grinding to a halt as if he had run out of fuel, and parked behind the armco to retired.
The #59 Aston Martin of David Brabham, Stephane Sarrazin and Darren Turner seemed to acquire all of the bad luck. The team was awarded three stop-go penalties early in the race all for infringements by Darren Turner and these dropped the team down as far as eighth. They worked they way back to fourth overnight before moving up to third during the morning and then up to second, staying there despite picking up left-rear puncture. The car was then called into the pits with 90 minutes to go because of overheating and rejoined for the finish of the race.
"One must accept these things in motorsport. We gave it everything, but it wasn't to be this time, " said David Richards, the Aston Martin team director. "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."