Vanina at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: After pleasure, comes disappointment... Eighth after three quarters of the race, the Team Signature-Plus Lola-Aston Martin was forced to retire in the 20th hour. For her sixth participation at the Le Mans 24...
Vanina at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: After pleasure, comes disappointment... Eighth after three quarters of the race, the Team Signature-Plus Lola-Aston Martin was forced to retire in the 20th hour.
For her sixth participation at the Le Mans 24 Hours, Vanina Ickx was sharing the Team Signature- Plus Lola-Aston Martin with Franck Mailleux and Pierre Ragues. Despite a power steering problem early in the race, then an issue with the clutch in the early morning hours on the No.008, the trio was in eighth place after 19 hours of racing. But the Belgian driver, who had performed well during her stints, was forced to retire after an incident at the first chicane on the Mulsanne Straight. Vanina looks back on the race, chronologically......
What was your experience of the pre-race, with a nod to the traditional starting procedure?
"Like the rest of the week, I lived it very calmly. It's a moment that could have stressed me in previous years. But this time, I took advantage of each instant with Franck and Pierre, as well as with the members of the Signature-Plus team. These are precious and rare moments. As for the traditional start, it was a nice symbolic gesture. It was a nice time."
After the start taken by Franck Mailleux, you began your first stint in the fourth hour of the race...
"It's the moment of truth. For the first time of the week, I went out on new tyres. I immediately felt comfortable. The rhythm of my first double stint was a little quicker than planned, and it was very consistent. I loved all the corners I took with the Lola-Aston and never put myself in danger. The team did a good job so that I felt at home with them. It's a huge advantage to know each member of the team. All the conditions were right for me to run well."
Your next two stints, one at night, and the other at dawn, did these also go well?
"As well as the first. I encountered a few difficulties with the traffic in my first stint at night. I always came up behind a car at the wrong spot on the track, at the wrong time. This night stint was not easy because I had to avoid several potential traps: there were a lot of incidents, gravel on the track, etc. Prudence was key .
"Later, it was more positive, most notably the sunrise, which is the most beautiful moment! It's like come out from the shadows. It feels good to see the return of the sun: it gives me a recharge in energy. The only negative point was when someone stole my gloves in the night. And since my earpieces were in my gloves, I had to find a solution that interfered with radio communication with the team.".
What happened next?
"In the first lap of my fourth stint, I surprised myself at the first chicane on the Mulsanne Straight and landed in the tyre barrier. It's an error on my part, no excuse. There's nothing to add... Thanks to Eric, our engineer, I was able to get the car back to the pits, but the tub had been damaged..."
As a result, what are your feelings after these 24 Hours of Le Mans 2010?
"Never has disappointment been so bitter. Because of the hard work and all the sacrifices made for these 24 Hours of Le Mans. It's even heavier for me since I was responsible for the disappointment of the team and to Pierre and Franck, who had driven such a good race. The result was almost served on a silver platter. "
-source: vanina ickx