...strong finish at Le Mans 24 Hours
The loss of a left rear wheel in the third hour of the Le Mans 24 Hours ultimately cost Larbre Competition the chance of a strong result at the 76th edition of the world’s most famous motor race.
Christophe Bouchut was driving when the hub carrier broke on his Saleen S7R as he entered Tertre Rouge and the loss of the wheel pitched him into a gravel trap. After crawling back to the pits for repairs, the team had to replace the transmission, brakes and suspension, as well as remove a huge amount of gravel from the car, in just 45 minutes, but the combined loss of time dropped them to the back of the field.
Throughout the remainder of the race the car ran without major incident, but the loss of such a significant amount of time coupled with the changeable conditions after the heavens opened at 4am on Sunday morning, meant the team were unable to make up significant ground on their rivals, ultimately finishing 7th in the GT1 class at the chequered flag.
However, despite their frustrations at being denied a strong result, the team were pleased to have reached the finish and proved that the American built Saleen is capable of competing in a twice around the clock endurance event.
Team Principal Jack Leconte said: “Many people said a 24 hour race was impossible for the Saleen, but we’ve succeeded in making it reliable thanks to our work with Oreca. After the problem on Saturday, we had no other target other than to finish the race and that was very important for the team and our partners. We are proud to have achieved that and we feel we are in good shape for the Spa 24 Hours where we hope to get our revenge.”
David Hallyday: “Despite the misfortune we suffered early in the race, everything ran quite smoothly afterwards. We did have a slight issue during Patrick’s last stint when a screw came loose in the floor and we had to replace it, but otherwise the car was perfect. It’s a shame about the issue with the hub carrier because I think we could have finished much higher up the field, but I’m afraid that’s motor racing!”
Patrick Bornhauser: “Unfortunately all the problems we suffered, including the issue with the floor this morning, came as a result of the loss of the wheel yesterday. It’s a pity because we certainly could have been in a position to fight nearer the front. It’s very frustrating because nobody made any mistakes, but the positive is the way we’ve proved that this car could complete a 24 hour race.”
Christophe Bouchut: “Obviously it’s a little disappointing because I missed pole position by a very small margin and I also think I could have challenged for fastest lap if I’d been on track at the right time. However, it was impossible to fight for the victory regardless of the problem we had because we couldn’t match the race performance of the works Astons and Corvettes. The performance level of the Saleen is very good over one lap, but they had the edge in race trim.”