IMPRESSIVE FIGHT-BACK FOR LIZ HALLIDAY AND INTERSPORT RACING American driver Liz Halliday and the Intersport Racing team mounted an impressive fight-back from 49th place overall, following a problem with their Lola AER which resulted in five pit...
IMPRESSIVE FIGHT-BACK FOR LIZ HALLIDAY AND INTERSPORT RACING
American driver Liz Halliday and the Intersport Racing team mounted an impressive fight-back from 49th place overall, following a problem with their Lola AER which resulted in five pit stops in as many laps, straight from the start of the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Halliday started the race but immediately noticed a misfire from the AER turbocharged engine. A series of pitstops ensued, while the team attempted to rectify the problem, including replacing the ignition coil and spark plugs. However, the fault was eventually traced to a problematic turbo wastegate which was causing excessive turbo boost and the engine to enter a 'safe', limited mode. Once the team changed the wastegate, Liz and team-mates Duncan Dayton and Clint Field set about climbing back up the leader-board, having dropped to 49th position in the process.
"I was in the car for almost two hours at the beginning," said Halliday at the six-hour mark. "We got the problem sorted but obviously we lost a lot of time. Then it took me a few laps to get my rhythm back. When you're trying to drive and talk to the team on the radio, explaining the problem, it's quite distracting."
Duncan Dayton took over for a single stint, followed by Clint Field, also for a single stint, before Halliday took to the car again for the first of the team's multiple sessions. She ran faultlessly for a double stint, around 1.5 hours in the darkness of the La Sarthe circuit, setting increasingly impressive lap times as she went.
"The car felt much better in the second stint," she explained. "My times are still improving, as I learn more places where I can gain extra speed. I think Le Mans is like that, you keep learning all the time. The traffic seems quite bad this year but that's probably because my times are better at night than last year. It's a case of keeping it as safe as possible now throughout the night."
By the time Halliday handed over to Dayton, the team had climbed back up to 20th overall and third in LMP2, an impressive feat in the first quarter of the race.
Team Manager Brian Alder was also pleased with the team's performance. "The first hour was rough but since we sorted the problem, the car has run fine. We're still moving up, so we're not finished yet. The car is running well at the moment and the drivers are doing a great job. It's a case of keeping it out of the garage now."