Gulf Oil at Le Mans - a new era dawns

Le Mans, France, Saturday 16th June 2001: The Gulf Oil sponsored Audi R8 of Johansson Racing starts the 24 Hours of Le Mans on the third row of the grid (5th position) after Stefan Johansson set a lap time of 3:34:349 in the final qualifying ...

Le Mans, France, Saturday 16th June 2001: The Gulf Oil sponsored Audi R8 of Johansson Racing starts the 24 Hours of Le Mans on the third row of the grid (5th position) after Stefan Johansson set a lap time of 3:34:349 in the final qualifying session on Thursday night. The Audi R8 will follow other great sports cars such as the Ford GT40, Mirage, Porsche 917 and McLaren F1 GTR in carrying the traditional Gulf Racing colours of powder blue and orange at Le Mans, when it lines up this afternoon for the start of the race. All three drivers are ready for the challenge ahead and know that the cars potential presents them with a realistic opportunity to write another chapter to Gulf Oils rich racing heritage.

Stefan Johansson: "We have prepared thoroughly for the race and, with the good fortune that all cars rely on at this gruelling event, we should be there or thereabouts. It's important to make as few mistakes as possible during the 24 hours to be in with a chance of winning tomorrow afternoon."

Patrick Lemarie: "I'm a very happy man, it's very important to have a rhythm to drive consistent times, lap by lap. To get that rhythm you must feel comfortable. I'm comfortable with the car, its potential and all the team personnel. It's a great pleasure to be at Le Mans competing in the Audi and for the Gulf team because it has such a history at this event."

Tom Coronel: "I'm very optimistic, it's only my third run in the car, it leaves a good feeling and my pace is improving all the time."

Mike Earle: "We are satisfied with this mornings warm-up, we proved that we can run in the top three, and all our drivers were able to spend time in the car. Our biggest concern at this moment in time is the weather. Intermittent heavy downpours are forecast with 60km winds. The dilemma for all the teams is whether to prepare for dry conditions or increase the downforce to combat the predicted wet weather. We'll leave it as late as possible before deciding our strategy, but in general terms we are pleased with our preparation and are ready for the off."

-GOR

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Stefan Johansson , Patrick Lemarié , Tom Coronel