Circuit de la Sarthe
DISAPPOINTMENT FOR SMITH AT LE MANS
Welton’s 2003 Le Mans 24 Hour race winner Guy Smith endured disappointment in this year’s race which finished today (12 June).
The 36-year-old Beverley-born Yorkshireman retired from the 79th running of the French motorsport “marathon” when his Lola-Toyota Coupé retired from fifth place – the best-placed petrol driven car – with nine hours remaining.
Smith, sharing the Swiss Rebellion team’s Lola with Jean-Christophe Boullion (France)/Andrea Belicchi (Italy) had started the annual race from 10th place on the 56-car grid. Guy, who also finished second at Le Mans in 2004, had been competing in the twice-around-the clock marathon for the eighth time.
“Unfortunately Jean-Christophe [Boullion] crashed out of the race,” reflected Smith. “We’d been inside the top-10 overall from the start and was looking good in terms of posting at least a top-three result in the unofficial ‘petrol division’ and were actually leading the petrol runners when the accident occurred but it wasn’t to be which is very disappointing again.”
Guy now focuses on another 24 Hour race before resuming his American Le Mans Series campaign at Lime Rock Park (9 July). Smith drives for the first time in the Nürburgring 24 Hours staged on the infamous Nordschleife track over 25-26 June.
“I’m driving a RJN/Falken tyres Nissan 370Z in the GT4 class,” continued Guy. “My co-drivers are Alex Buncombe and former DTM champion and ‘Ringmaster’ Kurt Thiim.
“In order to compete in the 24 hour race, every driver must complete and finish two VLN championship races there so as to get experience of the tricky circuit and the unique nature of the event.
“There will be over 250 cars entered so it gets pretty busy on track. The racing itself is something else with the closing speeds between the cars quite big while the circuit is very narrow.
“With each lap around the 9 minute mark you don’t actually get to do that many complete laps to learn the 150+ corners.”
-source: Guy Smith PR