Creation's fight to the finish 28 SECONDS AWAY FROM A PETIT LE MANS PODIUM The Creation team fought hard, recovered from technical and physical set backs and challenged for a podium position for about 85% of the race. But, with just over an hour...
Creation's fight to the finish
28 SECONDS AWAY FROM A PETIT LE MANS PODIUM
The Creation team fought hard, recovered from technical and physical set backs and challenged for a podium position for about 85% of the race. But, with just over an hour to go in the 1,000 mile Petit Le Mans race, the Road Atlanta track caught them out. The driving team of Jamie Campbell-Walter (GB), Nicolas Minassian (F) and Harold Primat (CH) finished in fourth place behind the winning Audi of McNish and Capello, the Zytek and Highcroft Racing's Lola.
Jamie Campbell-Walter had just left the pits in full darkness, a little after 8.00pm, for his last stint of the race when he hit fluid or oil and lost control of the Creation CA06/H at turn 5 -- one of the less well lit areas of the 2.54 mile track. In the time it took for him to coax the car back into life and re-enter the fray, he lost the 3rd place Creation had been holding. It was a heart-breaking moment for the whole team and, despite a spirited fight back, there was not enough time remaining in the race to claw back the position from Memo Gidley in the Highcroft Racing car. Another couple of laps might have put a different complexion on the race.
A podium finish would have been a magnificent result for the British team whose assault on one of the great North American classics started from pole position. As the race went green Nic Minassian made a great start away from the two Audi R10s, and led the race until his first pit stop 33 minutes into the race. Delayed stops would prove to be something of an Achilles heel for the team, as would the need to change tyres each time the car entered the pits.
The drivers gave their all throughout the race, but the physical toll was considerable. Jamie Campbell-Walter strained his back muscles badly due to loose belts, and Harold Primat suffered a problem with the car's power steering in his first stint which, together with some discomfort in the cockpit due to his height, left him with pain down both sides of his chest.
Team Principal Ian Bickerton's disappointment at the end result was representative of the whole team. "It was great to finish a very prestigious race like this, albeit a few laps down, but I can't pretend I'm not absolutely exasperated with the end result. This can be a very cruel business sometimes. We should have finished on the podium but we had a bit of trouble on the way. Jamie and Harold did a great job despite all the problems, and Nic was -- as always -- fantastic. I'm still gutted though."
Driver quotes to follow.