1000 Km of Silverstone: Pescarolo Sport between excitement and despair What Jean-Christophe Boullion did at the wheel of the Pescarolo-Judd during the 1000 km of Silverstone will remain as a milestone in the history of endurance racing.
1000 Km of Silverstone: Pescarolo Sport between excitement and despair
What Jean-Christophe Boullion did at the wheel of the Pescarolo-Judd during the 1000 km of Silverstone will remain as a milestone in the history of endurance racing. The problem was basically simple : in order to win the Le Mans Series championship, it was necessarry for the Pescarolo-Judd to win the race whereas for the Aston Martin, leading the championship after the Nurburgring, to finish no better than sixth. Still, on the starting grid, the Aston was on the front row meanwhile the Pescarolo was on the last one ! 40 cars were in between Jean-Christophe Boullion and Stephan Mucke on a circuit where overtakings are difficult.
Although he would start from the back of the grid after he went slightly off during the qualifying session, Jean-Christophe did not loose confidence.
From the beginning of the race week-end, the Pescarolo-Judd showed his potential. Jean-Christophe Boullion and Christophe Tinseau had been on top of the laptime sheets : best laptime for the first two practice sessions and the warm-up. Claude Galopin, the chief engineer, together with the drivers had determined the perfect set-up for a difficult race on a circuit demonstrating the qualities of the car.
But if everyone was wishing a good result and a good catch up to the car from Sarthe, no one could imagine what was going to happen for more than one hour. Daniel Poissenot had warned that no overtaking would be accepted before the starting flag was taken and Jean-Christophe respected the rule but immediately afterwards he started catching up amazingly. The Pescarolo-Judd seemed to be flying; Jean-Christophe was making his way through the traffic with an impressive confidence and authority. He was already in 9th position after 6 laps ! Meanwhile there was a fierce battle between the 4 Astons and the Oreca. Those five cars were already 18 seconds ahead but nothing could slow down Boullion, not even the prototypes which led him a hard life. On the 20th lap, the Pescarolo-Judd was within a stone's throw of the 5 cars leading the race. 10 laps later, what seemed to be impossible became reality: Jean-Christophe had overtaken the Oreca then the 3 Astons and was now leading the race before the end of his first stint. The Michelin tyres were remarkably consistent and did not need to be changed; the car continued on the same rythm. Christophe Tinseau took the wheel for the third stint and with the same brilliance as his team mate, he increased his advance, leading the field. But on lap 77, it was a chaos!.
The scenario already played at Nurburgring happened again. The telemetry indicated that the trouble was coming from the gearbox again. What a wretched shame for the whole team! After such a start, and although we never had experienced a gearbox failure, two problems in a row, this is just unbelievable. The mechanics did an excellent job and the inside of the gearbox was replaced in less than 14 laps; Christophe was out on the track again, catching up once more. Boullion finished the job and set the best laptime of the race in 1'34''316.
The Pescarolo-Judd was definitely the fastest car at Silverstone.
The Le Mans Series Championship is now over. Pescarolo Sport and its drivers finish in second position behind Aston Martin. A few points only behind a major car manufacturer - not that bad - but with so many regrets !
Next race will be the Asian Le Mans Series in Japan. The Pescarolo-Judd will defend the colours of Sora Racing with Jean- Christophe Boullion and Christophe Tinseau.