2003 Le Mans 24 Hour race winner Guy Smith finished a fine fourth in class today (SUN) -- 21st overall -- in this year's enduro race at the wheel of a British-built Lola.
The 33-year-old Driffield-based race ace competing in the legendary French race for the first time since finishing second in 2004, encountered gearbox issues with less than six hours to run in the 76th running of the twice-around-the clock sportscar endurance race.
Smith was driving a Lola powered by a British-made AER engine for the Portuguese Quifel ASM Team in the LM P2 category along with Olivier Pla (F) and Miguel Paes do Amaral (Por) -- Guy's fifth career Le Mans race.
Smith started from seventh in the LM P2 category on the 54-car grid and after seven hours was up to sixth and into fourth by mid-distance.
Despite deteriorating weather conditions in the early hours of Sunday morning, Smith was poised to take advantage of any mishaps to the top-three in class until he encountered gear selection problems with less than six hours to run.
"It was a shame we missed out on a possible podium which is what we'd been aiming at," recounted Smith.
"The paddle shift gearbox began to malfunction and a couple of lengthy pit-stops to attempt to rectify the problem cost us any chance of getting third place which would have been the best we could have hoped for.
"But it's one heck of an experience to drive at Le Mans, let alone win it like I've been fortunate to have done, and it was great to be back there."
Guy now reverts back to his American Le Mans Series campaign by contesting the fifth round of the series in his Dyson Racing Porsche Spyder at Lime Rock Park on 12 July.
-crddit: guy smith