Circuit de la Sarthe
Larbre Competition: Le Mans Update 1
Larbre Competition’s expected fightback through the field has materialised during the first six hours of this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours with the #50 Corvette C6R now leading the GTE Am class.
The French team’s chances of making early progress were initially stifled by a lengthy Safety Car period after an accident just 50 minutes into the race caused significant damage to the Armco barrier.
At that stage Gabriele Gardel had climbed two places from his starting position to sixth in class, but benefitted further from the confusion of the resulting caution period to lie third when action resumed over an hour later, before slipping back to sixth as their rivals’ disrupted pit-stop sequences played out over the following hour.
With Gardel’s double stint complete, Patrick Bornhauser took his turn behind the wheel, moving up to and maintaining a strong net-third position. Julien Canal took over at around 19.30 and improved still further, leading his class as the sixth hour began.
Larbre’s second car, a jointly-run effort with IMSA Performance, started strongly and ran second in the opening hour before it was unluckily caught out by the timing of the Safety Car. Jean-Philippe Belloc is currently aboard running fourth.
Gabriele Gardel: “The first two hours went well and the car did not suffer any problems. At the start, I managed to avoid the incidents between other cars by keeping my distance behind. We only refuelled the car during the first pit-stop, which was when the Safety Car was deployed. That meant I spent a total of two and a half hours in the car which allowed us to gain some places. During that hour spent behind the Safety Car, I tried to look after the brakes so we could avoid having to change them during the night. That’s when I think the car’s pace is only going to get stronger.”
That’s when I think the car’s pace is only going to get stronger.
Patrick Bornhauser: “I spent the first three laps finding my feet by running 4m13, then 4m12 and finally 4m10. After that I was able to maintain a consistent pace and even took the time take on plenty of fluids. The tyres felt great during my opening stint but I could feel the grip beginning to disappear throughout the second. Julien is now in the car for a double stint.”
Jack Leconte: “The weather conditions have been good throughout the opening part of the race. Our first objective was to optimise the tyre pressures and fuel consumption. Gabriele’s tyre pressures were too high in both stints so when we reduced them for Patrick it immediately improved the car’s performance, which has helped him climb back up to third place after four hours. We are now hoping to increase the number of laps in each stint. The #3 Audi’s accident shows how prudent we need to be as night begins to fall.”