Harold Primat thrilled with first Le Mans 24 Hours finish
Harold Primat was delighted to have crossed the finish line for the first time in three attempts at the Le Mans 24 Hours on Sunday, and reserved special praise for his team for keeping his Pescarolo-Judd 01 in the race.
With the two Pescarolo Sport cars running 3rd and 5th overall, the no 17 car looked set to retire during the night, denying Harold the chance to see the morning at the famous endurance race for the third consecutive year. However sterling work from the French team's mechanics put Primat, and co-drivers Christophe Tinseau and Benoit Treluyer, back in the race, where they recovered superbly to finish 13th overall and 6th in the LMP1 class.
An understandably happy Primat revealed the thrill of seeing the chequered flag at Le Mans for the first time. "It's an unbelievable feeling to finish. At last I have been able to sample the spirit of Le Mans when I took the chequered flag. I was in the car at the end and to see all the marshals coming out onto the track and so many fans everywhere was very, very special. I feel relieved to have got my first finish under my belt and my desire to stand on the podium here now burns even brighter."
Having started the race from 13th on the grid, Primat, Tinseau and Treluyer had fought their way up to 5th heading into the seventh hour of the race, when an oil leak brought the car into the pits. The cause of the problem proved difficult to locate, costing the team a 90-minute delay in the garage, but the mechanics did a magnificent job to get the car back out on track.
"It was hard to see the car in the pits losing lap after lap," the Geneva-based driver admitted. "But that is part and parcel of Le Mans -- sometimes the luck is with you and sometimes it's against you. However we were desperate to finish and the guys did a brilliant job to fix the car and get us back in the race. We rejoined in 43rd position but my team mates and I pushed hard to finish 13th so I think we did a pretty good job. The race brought a bit of everything, rainstorms, sunshine, safety cars and mechanical failure, everything that can make things complicated. But for me this whole week has been a very positive one."
With the no 16 Pescarolo-Judd finishing on the podium behind the diesel-powered cars of Audi and Peugeot team boss Henri Pescarolo was also happy at the end of the round-the-clock marathon, but admitted his frustration at what happened to the 17 car. "Unfortunately we had a mechanical issue which has never happened to us before. It was a problem with an oil pump and although we got it fixed it we lost almost an hour and a half. The drivers did well to climb the field and produce a good result which nobody could've expected after the problem."