STUART HALL KEEN TO MOVE FORWARD AFTER EVENTFUL LE MANS RACE London, 16 June, 2009. British racing driver, Stuart Hall (GB), experienced a challenging debut race for Aston Martin Racing in the 77th Le Mans 24 Hour race. Driving the number 009...
STUART HALL KEEN TO MOVE FORWARD AFTER EVENTFUL LE MANS RACE
London, 16 June, 2009. British racing driver, Stuart Hall (GB), experienced a challenging debut race for Aston Martin Racing in the 77th Le Mans 24 Hour race. Driving the number 009 Gulf-liveried LMP1 prototype with Peter Kox (NL) and Harold Primat (CH), the Bishops Stortford-based driver got off to a promising start but was eventually excluded from the race. A vital decision by the race stewards following Hall's involvement in a crash with an LMP2 car meant that he was forced to retire, while Kox and Primat took the 009 wheel for the remainder of the race.
Hall recalled the incident, "I was approaching the Ford chicane before the pits and the Radical was in front. I passed him to the left, and then with Tom Kristensen in the leading Audi large in my mirrors, I moved to the right to let him by. The Radical was behind me, or in the pit lane -- I certainly couldn't see him but I know I left him plenty of room. There was then a relatively light contact, no damage to our car, but the result was much more serious for the Radical which I am very sorry for."
The 24-year-old BRDC (British Racing Drivers' Club) Superstar otherwise impressed the team over the course of the weekend. Despite difficult weather conditions in practice and limited time to adjust to the new car, the young Englishman made good progress.
The race itself was eventful. The 009 car experienced problems and forced the drivers to pit early on. The car re-entered the field and made up 16 places but the difficulties were destined to continue - Hall's exclusion coming a few hours before 009 car's eventual retirement from the race. The car spun off during the 18th hour, hitting a barrier at turn 17 (the entry to the famous Porsche curves), whilst Primat was driving. The Aston Martin Racing team otherwise exceeded expectations by finishing an excellent fourth overall in this year's race with the 007 car the quickest of the petrol runners from start to finish.
"I've learned so much this weekend," said Hall. "I am obviously gutted about the stewards' decision to exclude me during the race but I have spoken with the team and apologised for what happened. I have to take it on the chin and learn from everything that I've been a part of here at Le Mans this year. It's been an amazing experience driving for Aston Martin Racing and a privilege to work with such a professional team. I'm really pleased about the overall team result and I hope to return to Le Mans next year."
Stuart is now back in the UK, to resume his intense training schedule.