"A day from hell!" The succinct summing up from team boss Ian Bickerton neatly covered a troubled eight hours of testing for the small, privateer team from Bicester, England. The team came to Le Mans with its new Creation CA06/H LMP1...
"A day from hell!" The succinct summing up from team boss Ian Bickerton neatly covered a troubled eight hours of testing for the small, privateer team from Bicester, England.
The team came to Le Mans with its new Creation CA06/H LMP1 prototype full of high hopes, but a number of technical problems meant that they were only able to complete about half the number of laps of their rivals. Finishing 8th in the final time classification (one place higher than last year) with a best time of 3:37.556 was far from representative of what the car and its drivers are capable of, but the opportunity to fully challenge the top LMP1 runners always slipped from the team's grasp.
Bickerton said, "There's always a chance of winning at Le Mans because all kinds of things can happen to anyone, even an Audi or a Pescarolo. But, realistically, we are aiming for a top five finish. We have a package that's pretty well tried and tested; the V10 Judd is very good, the Michelin tyres are the ones to have at Le Mans and we've got a solid driver line up with three drivers who have all been to Le Mans before so know what it takes to succeed."
Nicolas Minassian suffered a puncture after just five laps of the morning session -- Creation being one of many teams to fall victim to the sharp gravel and dirty track surface in the initial hours of testing. He was approaching the Indianapolis section of the track at nearly 300kph so was extremely fortunate to avoid a big accident and that the resulting bodywork damage was not more severe. It did, however, cost the team valuable track time while repairs were undertaken.
Felipe Ortiz had brake problems in the afternoon which again meant more repair time in the pits, while Beppe Gabbiani also had a puncture. The final blow to the team was when Minassian, who had just fitted a new set of soft tyres with a view to setting a quick time, experienced fuel pressure difficulties. This was later found to be caused by blocked fuel filters, the first time the team has ever had such an issue.
"I suppose we should view it as a dress rehearsal", mused Bickerton. "Traditionally, I understand that, if that goes very wrong, it bodes well for the main event. I really hope so because today was not a very good test day really."