Aston Martin Thursday qualifying report

Aston Martin Racing Takes Sensational Pole Position at Le Mans Aston Martin Racing dominated the final GT1 qualifying session for the 2006 Le Mans 24 Hours. Its two DBR9s stormed to the top of the timesheets, taking first and second places,...

Aston Martin Racing Takes Sensational Pole Position at Le Mans

Aston Martin Racing dominated the final GT1 qualifying session for the 2006 Le Mans 24 Hours. Its two DBR9s stormed to the top of the timesheets, taking first and second places, with Czech driver Tomas Enge taking a record fifth consecutive pole position at the La Sarthe circuit.

Thankfully, the heavy rainfall that marred yesterday's sessions abated today and both qualifying sessions were run in ideal conditions. Lap times improved as more rubber was laid down and Enge set his fastest lap with just 15 minutes of the second two-hour session remaining.

George Howard-Chappell, Team Principal, Aston Martin Racing commented: "We're very pleased with that. Everything went to plan; we ran through our race preparations and double-stinted the tyres, which worked well for us. Then, right at the end we did a few laps on low fuel and new tyres to set a time.

"The only issue we had was a minor brake issue on car 007 at the end of session one. It was caused by a bit of debris and was easily rectified. We must now focus on the race and work methodically through our usual preparations. But so far so good."

2nd QUALIFYING (1900-2100hrs; 2200-2400hrs)

CAR 007: 1st GT1 (20th overall) 3:52.015s
Drivers: Darren Turner, Andrea Piccini, Tomas Enge

As was the case yesterday, Turner drove first. He completed two stints and double-stinted his set of Michelin tyres. Piccini then took over to complete further trouble-free laps, before handing over to Enge, who had a minor brake issue caused by some debris. The problem was easily rectified and when Enge was given the car at the end of session two, the track was at its fastest and he duly delivered pole position.

Tomas Enge (Czech Republic): "I'm very happy to have taken pole position today. It means a lot, but I could have done a better time, but I hit traffic in the last sector. We know that we have a good car here; we must now make no mistakes in the race."

Darren Turner (Britain): "I'm happy with how things went today. These were my first dry laps of the track this year, so it was very useful. The overall balance of the car wasn't perfect during my stint, but it was driveable."

Andrea Piccini (Italy): "After the wet weather of yesterday, we had to re-learn braking points today and get used to the cars in the dry. The track was quite green to begin with, but it improved a lot."

CAR 009: 2nd GT1 (21st overall) 3:52.561s
Drivers: Pedro Lamy, Stephane Sarrazin, Stephane Ortelli

Lamy drove to begin with, completing consistently fast laps before handing over to Sarrazin, who went even quicker to end the first session on provisional pole position. Sarrazin drove first in session two, before handing the car to Ortelli, and then taking it back at the end of the session to set a time just 0.5s behind Enge.

Pedro Lamy (Portugal): "I drove in the first session only, but I still managed to complete a lot of laps. The tyres were fine when I double-stinted them and I was quite happy with the car."

Stephane Ortelli (Monaco): "I drove some fast laps at the end of my stint, but I didn't want to risk anything because I didn't want to make a mistake in such a beautiful car. We're back to where we were in pre-qualifying and the car feels good."

Stephane Sarrazin (France): "Our lap times prove that we have a very good car. I drove some good laps and had no issues at all. The car was quick at the end, which bodes well for the race."

-www.astonmartinracing.com

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Andrea Piccini , Tomas Enge , Darren Turner , Stéphane Sarrazin , Pedro Lamy , Stéphane Ortelli , George Howard-Chappell
Teams Aston Martin Racing