After 6 hours: 009 extends its GT1 lead The fight for GT1 class honours remains as close as ever after six hours of racing at Le Mans, with the two Gulf-liveried Aston Martin DBR9s in strong positions as evening turns into night. Darren Turner...
After 6 hours: 009 extends its GT1 lead
The fight for GT1 class honours remains as close as ever after six hours of racing at Le Mans, with the two Gulf-liveried Aston Martin DBR9s in strong positions as evening turns into night.
Darren Turner has completed a strong double-stint at the wheel of car 009, which has extended its class lead with David Brabham now driving.
Turner, who formed part of Aston Martin's GT1-winning crew last year along with Brabham, had no problems at all during his stint -- apart from the usual challenges associated with competing at the legendary La Sarthe circuit.
"It was a good few laps, although I did make one mistake where I braked slightly late, got wide and lost maybe four or five seconds," said Turner. "Other than that, it was nice and clean. I've had a few minor problems with traffic: I've just seemed to end up in the wrong place at the wrong time on a few occasions: it's the normal problem at Le Mans. But actually these are just very small things: overall, it's been a very good start to the race."
Former Grand Prix driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen enjoyed his first competitive stint behind the wheel of the 007 DBR9, and also steered clear of trouble to move up to third, completing a very positive first quarter of the race for the Aston Martin Racing team.
"I felt comfortable in the car, and I was driving at a good pace that was quite fast but mostly just consistent," he reported, stepping from the 007 car. "Towards the end of my double stint I felt a strange vibration from the front, which I think was down to me flat-spotting a tyre, although I wasn't sure at the time."
Karl Wendlinger -- another former Grand Prix driver -- has now taken over 007 for his second stint after starting the race at 3pm.
Following an earlier off-road excursion, the Aston Martin-powered LMP1 prototype has set some very fast times, currently making it the quickest petrol-powered car on track.
Aston Martin Racing Team Principal George Howard-Chappell commented: "We're naturally very pleased with the way that the race has started for us, with one car first and the other car third. It's still far too early to make any assumptions about how it will all pan out though, as we are nowhere near halfway even yet. It's a real pity about the accident to the LMP1 car, as the pace that it is showing now is indicative of its true potential."
With night now descending, track temperatures will cool considerably -- making tyre choice another complicated aspect of this demanding challenge.
Overtaking will also be made more complicated by the reduced visibility, with drivers having to rely on their established braking points and keep a careful eye on surrounding traffic.