DETERMINED DRIVE ENDS IN DISAPPOINTMENT FOR GEGOR FISKEN Fine automobile dealer from London Gregor Fisken, competing in his third 24 Hours of Le Mans but his first in the LMP1 category, put in a determined drive at the wheel of the works Courage...
DETERMINED DRIVE ENDS IN DISAPPOINTMENT FOR GEGOR FISKEN
Fine automobile dealer from London Gregor Fisken, competing in his third 24 Hours of Le Mans but his first in the LMP1 category, put in a determined drive at the wheel of the works Courage Competition LC70 this weekend. Unfortunately, he was denied the result that the effort he and the Courage team put in demanded, when the car's engine failed at 8am on Sunday morning, 15 hours into the race.
The race began at 5pm on Saturday 17 June under blazing sunshine. But from the start, there were problems for the number 12 car. Fisken's team-mate Sam Hancock took the first stint but immediately realised that there was a handling problem. Fisken took over and explained that the car felt as if a steering arm was failing, allowing the front wheels to spread and causing severe understeer.
"I had a moment when it felt like the car slid on oil at the Ford chicane," he explained. "Then, in the fast right hand corner at the end of the start/finish straight, I turned in and suddenly had no steering. I gently slid into the gravel and got towed out but the car had no steering and I had an extremely painful journey to bring it back to the pits." When the Courage team began to repair the car, they did indeed find a broken suspension upright but by the time the car returned to the track, they had dropped to 39th overall.
Hancock took the car out following the repairs and Fisken later relieved him for a triple stint. He picked up a puncture early in the session, as did many drivers on a particularly dirty and gravel-strewn track. Once changed, he settled into a rhythm and drove for three back to back stints. "The car felt very good at this stage and although we were a long way back, we were still running and the race was just only halfway through."
Fisken handed over to Hancock once more but the car developed a steering fault, quickly rectified by the Courage team. Then, during the session, the engine began to lose power and despite investigation, the team was unable to discover the exact nature of the problem and was left with no alternative but to retire the car.
"What can I say? I finished my triple stint and went to get some sleep. But I was woken up by Sam telling me that they had fixed the steering but the engine had lost power and the team had retired the car. Up until that point, it was running very cleanly but lost power gradually and seems to have succumbed to an internal problem of some sort. It gave no indication that it was going to happen and it's extremely disappointing. But, that's Le Mans!
"From a human point of view, I don't think there was anything more either the Yokohama guys, the engine guys or the Courage team could have done. But I do think that a lot will be learned from this weekend. I think the car fundamentally is a good one and will develop further for the future.
"I would like to work with the Courage team again in the future and hope that I can do the next round of the Le Mans Series, at the Nurburgring, with the team."