PIRELLI-SHOD ASTON MARTINS FINISH 1ST AND 2ND IN GT1 AT UTAH GRAND PRIX Latest Pirelli P Zero Race Tires Make Decisive Difference on Hot Track SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, July 16, 2006 Just two weeks after their brilliant win at Lime Rock Park,...
PIRELLI-SHOD ASTON MARTINS FINISH 1ST AND 2ND IN GT1 AT UTAH GRAND PRIX
Latest Pirelli P Zero Race Tires Make Decisive Difference on Hot Track
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, July 16, 2006 Just two weeks after their brilliant win at Lime Rock Park, Pirelli and Aston Martin returned to the winners circle in the USA at the inaugural Utah Grand Prix, fifth round of the American Le Mans Series, held at the brand new Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City. The road racing circuit is the longest in the US at 4.5 miles; a challenge of 24 curves made all the more challenging by hot weather and the mixture of salt and sand continually blown onto the asphalt, making it highly abrasive.
Notwithstanding these challenges, the Aston Martin DBR9s of Tomas Enge/Darren Turner and Stephane Sarrazin/Andrea Piccini on their P Zero race tires dominated the weekend throughout practice, qualifying and race. Enge (#007) and Sarrazin (#009) monopolized the front row of the GT1 grid with respectively 1st and 2nd qualifying positions and went on to repeat that order in the race. The #007 Aston ran at the front from beginning to end, while the #009 car slipped behind the two factory Corvette C6Rs as it mad its second scheduled fuel stop.
However, once the Corvettes stopped for their refueling, Sarrazin resumed his second position behind his teammates.
Following on from the victory of Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy two weeks ago at Lime Rock, this weekend's performance marks the first "double" victory for Pirelli Competizioni and Aston Martin in their first season together in the prestigious American Le Mans Series. Aston Martin Racing and Pirelli are currently second in GT1 points as are Enge, Turner and Sarrazin in the Drivers' Championship.
"Tremendous job at the start by Darren; he did a great job and gave us a huge lead," praised winner Enge of the Czech Republic. "We had a brilliant set up. Brilliant tires, as well, this weekend; they were working right from the beginning to the end."
"Our P Zero Racing tires undoubtedly made the decisive difference on the slippery sand- covered track whose surface at the beginning of the race was over 130 degrees," commented Italian Piccini. "The new Pirelli tires produced for this race faced a baptism of fire but in the end contributed handsomely to the ongoing technical development of the Aston Martin. Personally, I am obviously very satisfied to have debuted in an internationally important championship like the American Le Mans Series with a podium position."
"This is the clearest statement we could have made about the quality and performance of Pirelli's new racing tires," commented Peter Tyson, vice president of Communications for Pirelli Tires North America. "An extremely demanding race, disputed in extremely high temperatures on a surface made super abrasive with sand and salt it was the perfect shop window in which to show our competitive qualities. In particular, we were able to demonstrate the remarkable consistency of our lap times over the full period of each racing stint and without problems of wear factors which gave us the decisive competitive edge."
In the GT2 class, the Pirelli-shod Multimatic Panoz Esperantes struggled to find the correct set up with the #50 car of David Brabham and Scott Maxwell hindered by fuel pressure issues in practice. In fact, it was the #51 car that shown for the team as Gunnar Jeanette started 3rd on the grid and starred in a spectacular dice for 2nd position. At the end, though, the team finished a rather uncharacteristic 6th and 8th, disappointing for them after a strong start to the season.
The ALMS continues west for the sixth round of the series racing in Portland next Saturday, July 22, at 6 p.m. (PDT) with CBS Sports televising the race on Sunday, July 23, from 3 to 5 p.m. (EDT). American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA live timing and scoring.