LAGUNA PODIUM IS A PERFECT WAY TO FINISH An action-packed four hours of racing, four full course caution periods, accidents and incidents, spins aplenty. The popular Creation team came through it all to take third place in the final round of...
LAGUNA PODIUM IS A PERFECT WAY TO FINISH
An action-packed four hours of racing, four full course caution periods, accidents and incidents, spins aplenty. The popular Creation team came through it all to take third place in the final round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series at Laguna Seca, just 29 seconds behind the Championship winning Audi Sport of North America cars. The team was as delighted with the result as if it had won, and it was a fitting way for the British privateer team to round off its 2006 season, even if that much desired victory has to now wait until 2007.
Nicolas Minassian took the start in the Creation CA06/H and had to be content (though frustrated) to sit behind the Zytek of Stefan Johansson until the end of the second caution period. Once into the lead, on lap 22, Minassian took command for the next 30 laps until pitting for the first time an hour and a quarter into the race. Swiss Harold Primat took the wheel and did a steady job to keep in touch with the leaders, overcoming a couple of spins on the very dusty Laguna track and contact by the #2 Audi coming out of the Corkscrew. Fortunately the car was not damaged and Primat did extremely well to recover the situation and continue with relatively little time lost.
The team took the opportunity to put the Frenchman back behind the wheel during the long third caution period, and once the field had returned to green flag racing Minassian set about the leading pack. A spin by the #7 Penske Porsche meant the "Blue Rocket" moved into second place with around 45 minutes of the race to run, but a necessary final pit stop for a splash of fuel 17 minutes before the chequered flag dropped it back to its eventual finishing position of third.
Creation's Californian co-founder, Michael Jankowski summed up an exciting race. "This is a fabulous result for us and it's great for everyone around here. We have great people -- every single person worked really well today. Nic and Harold did an outstanding job despite a lot of very strange things happening to us. It worked out in the end and to finish on the same lap as the two Audis, and not so far away, well, what more can I say?"
These sentiments were backed up by Team Principal Ian Bickerton who was very proud of his whole team today. "It's been a busy afternoon. Both drivers did a great job. Harold had a real torrid time, on his first visit ever here at Laguna. He got off line a few times and spun, and got totally accosted by Allan McNish, but got it all back together again and brought the car back home in one piece. Nicolas as always is mega man, and did a mega job. I can't wait to come back in 2007!"
The supremely talented Minassian, who has never failed to deliver for Creation in all his many races with the team, was full of smiles at the end of the race. "There's nothing better than a podium like this, you know. Victory was possible, I think, if it hadn't been for the few things which happened to us. I got a big knock from Johnny Mowlem, which was really unnecessary, and he tried to push me into the wall but, never mind, I am now in front and he has finished behind--
"The result is fantastic for everybody at Creation. This is for them. Without the team you can't finish on the podium, and without a very good car you can't finish at the front either. It's fantastic."
Geneva resident Harold Primat has settled in well with the team in his two races with them, enjoying the family atmosphere that prevails. "Well, the result is great. We came through the race safely today and now we've had a fourth and a third and I think we can't expect to do that much more. It's a brilliant job by the team and everyone has done a wonderful job again this weekend, especially Nic. It's been really good for me joining this team, and to have had a good couple of races in the States is brilliant."