Fourth Finish for Team Modena at Le Mans Team Modena continued their superb 100% finishing record in the Le Mans 24-Hours race when their Ferrari 430 GT came home seventh in the LM GT2 class and 27th overall of the 54 starters this afternoon at...
Fourth Finish for Team Modena at Le Mans
Team Modena continued their superb 100% finishing record in the Le Mans 24-Hours race when their Ferrari 430 GT came home seventh in the LM GT2 class and 27th overall of the 54 starters this afternoon at the classic French endurance race. The car could have finished much higher if it had not been twice hit by other cars during the night, losing time on both occasions, but Leo Mansell brought the car over the line at 15.00 local time to complete 314-laps of hard racing and the team's fourth consecutive finish.
Not only did Leo, having shared the Ferrari with Roman Rusinov and Pierre Ehret, take the chequered flag, but the Briton also timed his pace in the final laps perfectly and crossed the line right behind the winners - Team Modena's red Ferrari in the TV pictures that were beamed around the world. The hard-working pit crew had prepared a car that performed perfectly all race in only its third event, and also carried out 28 pit stops during an event that saw the car cover 4,279.5km.
"The secret to Le Mans is in the preparation," said Team Principal Graham Schultz, "and you can only get that from a great team. We have one of the best teams there is and we have finished four out of four here, a fantastic performance from the guys in the crew and in the car."
"It's our fourth start and fourth finish in a row," said Sporting Director Rik Bryan. "It wasn't a straightforward race but mechanically the car was perfect, we were unfortunate in having a couple of collisions at the hands of others cars which lost a lot of time and set us back each time we rising up the classification."
"I think we have a great team," said Team Manager Hans Muelhbauer, who orchestrated each pit stop. "You can rely on them whatever difficulties we have, and in this race we had the accidents to deal with. To come seventh in such a competitive category all I can say is - great team, great drivers."
All three drivers pushed hard race long, with Pierre, on his Team Modena debut taking the start and bringing the car safely through the early laps which at Le Mans can be run at sprint race pace. Leo had completed his first Le Mans race laps early on Saturday evening, with Roman taking the car over from him for the late evening run.
From then on the drivers were in a set rotation with the team's first dramas taking place in the night, Leo being hit by a car when being lapped and having to crawl round with a puncture, before Roman was hit from behind at three in the morning and had to be pulled out the Dunlop Curve gravel bed, losing six laps.
From then on the drivers were on a recovery charge, bringing the car back up the LM GT2 class order to take seventh in a tightly competitive category which featured 17 starters. With almost a quarter of a million spectators in the circuit, Leo brought the car across the finish line a minute after 3pm, finishing his first, and Team Modena's fourth Le Mans 24-Hour race.
"It's a great achievement just to finish here," said Leo, "and I think seventh is not a bad result all things considered. If we had not had a couple of the problems we could maybe have been on the podium, but all things considered the guys did a great job, as did Pierre and Roman, and the car ran perfectly.
"It worked out really well at the end and I crossed the line with the leaders, I am not sure how happy they will be about it but it was good for us and a brilliant way to finish!"
"I had the big crash with the prototype in the night," said Roman after his final turn behind the wheel, "and maybe we could have finished a few positions better. The car was reliable and it was hot and very long race!"