TIM SUGDEN 2nd AT LE MANS - THEN THE ENGINE FAILED! Almost the ultimate in disappointment for Tim Sugden and the Virgo team in the Le Mans 24 Hour race over the weekend as their Ferrari 430 holed a piston after over 21 hours of the race whilst...
TIM SUGDEN 2nd AT LE MANS - THEN THE ENGINE FAILED!
Almost the ultimate in disappointment for Tim Sugden and the Virgo team in the Le Mans 24 Hour race over the weekend as their Ferrari 430 holed a piston after over 21 hours of the race whilst lying 2nd in GT2 and chasing down the leader. The team had done a magnificent job and were running just over a lap behind the ultimate winners with a lead of over 5 laps to the 3rd place Ferrari.
Whilst Tim was in car they had moved to 2nd place around 10.30 pm on Saturday evening having lost time in the pits working on the power steering system which failed early in race. Unable to fix this problem they continued and were lapping consistently faster than other cars until it rained during the night. The lack of power steering made life even more difficult in the wet conditions and the team lost a little time to the leading Risi Competitione car but gained on the rest and as the morning brought a dry road they began to cut the gap again before Rob Bell brought the car in with engine trouble and enforced retirement with less than 3 hours to go.
The Virgo team had prepared well, the car having had a full rebuild including a brand new race engine at the Michelotti factory that holds the contract from Ferrari to develop the race version of the F430. As the car also runs as the development team for Dunlop race tyres they had high hopes of a podium and looked set to deliver at least 2nd for MCW Properties and AJ Power who are the team sponsors. Practice had gone according to plan with 3rd place on the grid in GT2 and no technical problems; pit stops were slick when no extra work was required with the car running 55 minutes on a tank of fuel and double stinting tyres.
Virgo must now work to retain their Le Mans Series title where they are leading the championship by 1 point over the German Felbermyer Porsche team with two races to go, Nurburgring on August 17th and Silverstone on September 14th, winning this series again will ensure an entry to the 24 Hour race for next year.
Tim's next races are at Zuhai in China next weekend where he defends his Porsche Carrera Cup title for his regular team GruppeM racing.
-credit: tim sugden