SUNDAY 0000: ASTON MARTIN STAYS IN FRONT The Aston Martin Racing cars numbered 007 and 009 are still first and second at midnight, although the competition is close with the third-placed Corvette on the same lap. Overall, the Aston Martins...
SUNDAY 0000: ASTON MARTIN STAYS IN FRONT
The Aston Martin Racing cars numbered 007 and 009 are still first and second at midnight, although the competition is close with the third-placed Corvette on the same lap. Overall, the Aston Martins are eighth and 10th -- having already got in front of one of the LMP1 cars.
David Brabham took over the lead 009 car just before 2200 and had a trouble-free run, while Peter Kox followed him closely to keep it a tightly-formed Aston Martin one-two separated by less than 10 seconds. Just after midnight, Brabham handed over to Darren Turner who will face a tough stint into the small hours of the night, while Kox swapped with Tomas Enge
With the circuit now completely immersed in darkness, the trackside atmosphere came alive with fans watching from the famous funfair and savouring the spectacle of headlights piercing the gloom.
"The car was very well-balanced throughout my stint, but we're all quite closely matched in terms of speed," said Brabham. "It was just a question of keeping a good pace while staying out of trouble: it's a tough compromise to call."
With the Corvette so close behind, neither of the leading DBR9s can afford to back off. The situation was exacerbated by another safety car period as marshals mopped up some spilt oil.
The 008 AMR Larbre Competition DBR9 is still fourth, while the AMR BMS entry is currently fifth. BMS driver Fabio Babini commented: "We're not quite as fast as the Aston Martin Racing cars, but we're not far off. I think the strange conditions here have made it very difficult for everybody to choose the most appropriate tyres."
The Team Modena DBR9 has slipped to ninth, following an unusual setback. Jos Menten had a problem with his seat belts, and was forced to return to the pits in order to have it fixed. Menten is now strapped back in and heading back up the leaderboard. No rain is expected in the immediate future -- although overnight temperatures are forecast to drop to just six degrees centigrade.