Larbre Competition completes dominant Le Mans 1-2
Larbre Competition confirmed their domination of the Le Mans 24 Hours for a second consecutive year on Sunday after recording a 1-2 finish in the GTE Am class.
The #50 Corvette C6.R driven by Patrick Bornhauser, Julien Canal and Gabriele Gardel made up for a difficult qualifying session by charging through the class from eighth to first by early Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, Jean-Philippe Belloc, Christophe Bourret and Pascal Gibon in the #70 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR jointly run by IMSA Performance were the only trio capable of matching their team-mates’ pace as the two cars built an unassailable 17-lap lead over their nearest challengers by the chequered flag.
This year’s race was not without its challenges however. Three lengthy Safety Car periods, the second of which lasted the best part of two hours, stifled significant progress while at one stage the class’ top five were all running on the same lap.
Ultimately, superior speed and reliability proved vital with neither Larbre entry experiencing significant delays in the pits.
This was Canal and Gardel’s second consecutive Le Mans class win with Larbre Competition after being part of the line-up that scored GT1 victory at the wheel of a Saleen last season. Bornhauser, who was scheduled to complete the line-up 12 months ago before illness ruled him out, finally gets his hands on the trophy.
Patrick Bornhauser: “For us, this was a well planned victory. A team like Larbre is perfectly prepared for this type of event which extends to the car, driver crew and mechanics. All were ready and no mistakes made throughout the entire race. The car was never in the garage with a mechanical problem so at the finish that usually means you win.”Julien Canal: “Obviously I am very happy with my second consecutive win here for Larbre Competition. Personally, I don’t think this is down to luck but confirmation of fantastic team work and I would like to thank Larbre for their trust and confidence. I think that we are going places together!”
Gabriele Gardel: “Jack and his team have done an amazing job for this year’s programme so it’s a great reward for him and all the staff. I am really happy to be here and would like to thank the entire team and the boys, especially after the off on Wednesday night when I damaged the car. They worked very hard to fix it so this is a great reward for their efforts. To win at Le Mans is an amazing feeling.”
Jack Leconte: “This year our Le Mans project was a special one, with the objective to reunite all members of the Larbre family from over the years. We started by winning twice with Porsche in 1993 and 1994 which included our friends Raymond Narac and Franck Rava who have since moved on and created their own professional organisation. I saw that in the current economic situation it would be too difficult for IMSA and Larbre to put together a two-car team for Le Mans. Instead, we decided to run a joint effort with Porsche and rookie drivers which Larbre has had a tradition of doing down the years. Putting this well-organised project together is a fantastic reward. The launch of our partnership with General Motors and Corvette Racing has also been a total success. We have worked together perfectly in the pursuit of a shared value, victory, with each side doing the maximum to obtain the best possible performance. The Pratt & Miller team has also given everything to win the GTE Pro class following Jan Magnussen’s and the #74 car’s accident. Reunited on the Le Mans 24 Hours podium, we are only at the start of a great story.”
Le Mans 24 Hours 2011: GTE Am result1. #50 Larbre Competition Chevrolet Corvette C6.R 302 laps2. #70 Larbre Competition Porsche 911 RSR - 1 lap3. #68 Robertson Racing Ford GT-Doran - 17 laps4. #83 JMB Racing Ferrari F430 - 30 laps5. #81 Flying Lizard Motorsport Porsche 911 RSR DNF (Mechanical)6. #63 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR DNF (Accident)7. #61 AF Corse Ferrari F430 DNF (Accident)8. #60 Gulf AMR Middle East Aston Martin Vantage DNF (Accident)9. #57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F430 DNF (Engine)10. #62 CRS Racing Ferrari F430 DNF (Accident)
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