The 007 Gulf liveried LMP1 car of Jan Charouz (CZ), Toma' Enge (CZ) and Stefan Mucke (DE) finished first, recording their second win of the season and fourth podium finish from four races. The 009 car of Harold Primat (CH) and Darren Turner (GB) ...
The 007 Gulf liveried LMP1 car of Jan Charouz (CZ), Toma' Enge (CZ) and Stefan Mucke (DE) finished first, recording their second win of the season and fourth podium finish from four races.
The 009 car of Harold Primat (CH) and Darren Turner (GB) finished second. The third Aston Martin Racing entry of Chris Buncombe (GB), Stuart Hall (GB) and Miguel Ramos (PT) finished just behind 009, securing an all Aston Martin podium.
The trio of Aston Martins made a clean start to the 195 lap race which started at 12:30 local time. Mucke and Turner held first and second places respectively in their 007 and 009 LMP1 cars. Ramos in the 008 car quickly made up two places finishing eighth by the end of his first stint.
Just under one hour into the race the Aston Martins stopped for fuel. Mucke and Turner remained in 007 and 009 to rejoin for double stints on their Michelin tyres, while Ramos handed the wheel of the 008 Aston Martin to British driver Buncombe who worked his way up to sixth.
At the next round of pit stops, Mucke and Turner were replaced by Charouz in the 007 and Primat in the 009. The 007 car stopped for slightly longer than usual to allow the team to fit a larger rear deck gurney to reduce oversteer on the car and improve handling. The 007 pit crew worked at lightning speed, changing the part in just over 10 seconds and 007 rejoined the race in first place. In 008 Buncombe remained in the Michelin-shod Aston Martin and moved up a further place to fifth before the end of his double stint. New to the car for this race, Buncombe adapted quickly to the Aston Martin and was soon on the pace of the leaders.
Just after 3pm local time with the race well underway and Aston Martin Racing's main rivals suffering from mechanical issues, the cars pitted for the third time. Buncombe was in first, handing the reigns of 008 to fellow British driver Stuart Hall. Primat and Turner switched in 009 and the team performed the same change to the rear deck gurney on the 009 car, again with minimum disruption to the pit stop. In the 007 Aston Martin, Charouz remained behind the wheel, stopping for fuel only before continuing in first place.
After three hours and 100 laps the cars were running first, second and fourth. The team held its breath when Charouz suffered a spin in the 007 Aston Martin on lap 110 but the car was undamaged and he retained first position.
By lap 112 Aston Martin was occupying the top three places with the order 007, 009 and 008 and this remained the same until just after the four hour mark when 009, on fresh tyres passed sister car 007 to take the lead.
By this time Czech driver Enge was in the 007, Turner was back behind the wheel of 009 and Hall remained in 008 to complete his double stint.
At just after 5pm local time Hall returned 008 to the pits in third place and Buncombe took over for the second time, staying behind the wheel until the end of the race. Turner pitted shortly afterwards with Primat taking over for his second session in 009.
Enge pitted from first on lap 163 and German driver Mucke returned to the wheel of the 007 to the finish, taking the chequered flag at his home race. Pole sitter Mucke was officially the quickest man on track today, setting the fastest lap of the race with a time of 01min 44.125s.
All three Aston Martins ran trouble free for the duration of the race, stopping only for seven scheduled pit stops each.
The result marks the team's best achievement yet in the Le Mans Series says Team Principal, George Howard-Chappell: "Absolutely brilliant! I couldn't have dreamt of a one, two, three. The result is a real tribute to the team, the drivers and the whole organisation. I would particularly like to thank Michelin for their support and their valued help. All round it is just fantastic and the flags will definitely be flying at the Aston Martin Racing headquarters in the UK tomorrow morning."
DRIVER QUOTES 007
Jan Charouz (CZ): "For us as a team of three this is a good result but for Aston Martin it is even better. We are now leading the Team and Driver Championships and it puts us in a much better position for Silverstone which is a race we are confident will suit the car. I think we are all looking forward to the last race of the season and we hope we can win the Championship."
Toma' Enge (CZ): "This was a really important race for the whole team and also for Aston Martin. We are very happy to be leading by seven points but anything can happen in the last race and the Championship is by no means decided but at least we are in a strong position for the title. I'm really looking forward to the last race which is the home race for the team and the employees at Aston Martin Racing and Aston Martin so I'm sure we will have a lot of supporters."
Stefan Mucke (D): "It was absolutely fantastic, the team did a great job and we had almost no issues during the race. In qualifying the car was good and at the end of the race the car was perfect. I'm so pleased to have won my home race, it is an amazing feeling."
DRIVER QUOTES 008
Chris Buncombe (GB): "This is a fantastic result. A podium finish was always the aim but we didn't know how achievable it would be. To be here driving for Aston Martin this weekend is a dream. I've learnt a lot and I treated it as a learning weekend so to come away with a podium is just fantastic. This was the first time I have driven the car and now I know what to expect, I can't wait for Silverstone."
Stuart Hall (GB): "It's great to be back in the car and it's great that Aston Martin had faith in me. I couldn't really ask for more. It is the first time that myself, Chris and Miguel have driven together. We are a good team and we jelled very well. It's been a while since I last drove the car but I think we showed great pace. I'm going to enjoy this result for the next week or so and then look forward to Silverstone. It's my favourite circuit and there is no better place for a British driver to race than Silverstone. I know the circuit really well so you never know, hopefully we can get another good result there too."
Miguel Ramos (PT): "A podium finish is a great result for me and my new team-mates. We all put in solid performances and we had a great race."
DRIVER QUOTES 009
Harold Primat (CH): "It was fine with just two of us in the car as it gave us more driving time and more time to work on finding the best set-up. Darren is a very good solid driver so I'm happy to be partnering him because he is pushing me to improve. It's great to finally be on the podium, it's a good feeling and great for improving confidence."
Darren Turner (GB): "It's an amazing feeling to finish on the podium, to be up there with our team-mates and George, the three cars below and the whole team cheering us on was just a great feeling. It's a great testament to the team to get three cars home in any race but to get three cars home and on the podium when the competition is so strong in this series is a real achievement. It has been a great day for everyone."
Aston Martin Racing heads to Silverstone, UK for the fifth round of the Le Mans Series on 13 September 2009. The 007 Aston Martin will start the final round of the 2009 Le Mans Series at their home race with a seven point lead in the Teams Championship.
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