FIRST OFFICIAL PRACTICE/QUALIFYING SESSIONS – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8TH
After the first four hours of practice today for the 79th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Gulf AMR Middle East’s Fabien Giroix had recorded the fastest time in the GTE-Am class with a time of 4:04.702. The Frenchman was equally close to the time at the start of this evening’s official night running, with a time of 4:04.825 and said afterwards:
“The car was really good but I made only one fast lap tonight in the ‘qualifying’ session. If I had done more I think we would for sure have been able to improve. As long as it doesn’t rain tomorrow we can use the time to improve and do some runs on softer tyres but we are pleased with what we’ve done today as we have proved we have one of the fastest cars.”
Mike Wainwright also completed his mandatory three night laps and spoke of his first laps in Le Mans darkness: “The laps were good and the car felt good too. It took a little while to get used to differentiating between the natural ambient lights that are out there and the prototype lights but I’m happy to have qualified.”
Speaking of the change between the 2011 spec Aston Martin Vantage used at Sebring and Spa and the 2010 specification being used here at Le Mans, Wainwright commented: “The low end engine torque, especially between gears one and four, is a big difference but in terms of aero and car set up it’s the same. The brakes are a little different but it’s a case of getting used to it. Overall though the car felt really good so I’m looking forward to more laps tomorrow.”
The Gulf AMR Middle East team’s evening came to a premature close after an unfortunate racing incident which involved Roald Goethe. The German driver had just left the pits and reached the Mulsanne Corner at the end of the Hunaudieres when he spun the Aston Martin. While trying to re-start, the No.1 Audi came – unsighted – round the same corner and hit the car side on. Roald is absolutely unharmed and the car, upon first inspection, appears to have only suffered bodywork which will be repaired in time for practice tomorrow.
-source: gulf amr middle east