Harold Primat and Christophe Tinseau took a superb last-gasp podium finish in a thrilling race at round 2 of the Le Mans Series in Monza, after a stunning drive by the Pescarolo Sport duo.
In an action-packed 1000km race, Tinseau passed the Creation CA07 of Stuart Hall on the final lap with a superb move into the Rettifilo chicane, to take third place overall and finish as the best placed petrol-powered car.
Starting from 13th on the grid, the Geneva-based Primat took the start and made strong progress through the field in the early stages. He was 9th when he handed over to Tinseau at the team’s first pit stop, and the Frenchman continued his team-mate’s progress, climbing steadily to 6th place overall. Once again the Pescarolo 01-Judd proved its reliability, as Primat and Tinseau continued to scale the field while others suffered mechanical misfortune, and Harold ended a fine second stint within touching distance of the fifth-placed #15 Creation.
The final hour of the race was thrilling, with Tinseau and Hall battling wheel-to-wheel around the high-speed circuit. What was a fight for 5th became a fight for the podium in the dying stages, after accidents for the sister #16 Pescarolo 01 and the #5 Courage Oreca dropped them out of contention. With Tinseau permanently glued to the back of the Creation, British driver Hall looked to have clung on to 3rd place on the last lap, but Tinseau used all of his experience to dive down the inside into the Rettifilo chicane and squeeze his way safely past despite there being slight contact between the two.
A delighted Harold Primat was almost lost for words as he celebrated a terrific result: “What can you say after a race like that? We started 13th, behind two Peugeots, two Audis, a Lola Aston Martin and a whole host of other quick cars, so we never dreamed we could get a podium. To get one, therefore, is absolutely unbelievable and once again we’ve proved our consistency and the Pescarolo has shown its reliability. We were desperate for a podium this year, but this is the strongest LMP1 grid we’ve ever seen and so we weren’t sure it was possible. To stand alongside the big boys from Peugeot and Audi is a very special moment for me, Christophe and the entire Pescarolo Sport team.”
Christophe Tinseau was proud of the achievement and described his final lap overtaking manoeuvre. “I was a bit faster than Stuart, but not much, and every time I caught him I was blocked by traffic. On the last lap though, he got baulked a little bit by the Lamborghini and I decided to go for it. I was alongside and he turned in and touched me, but as he started to spin, I dived to the other side and got past. During my first stint and Harold’s second we tried the hard compound tyres and weren’t as quick, which was a slight mistake, but otherwise this performance was faultless. I’m so happy about this result because we’re not yet running the 2008 aero package which the 16 car has. We hope to have it for the next round at Spa and, when we do, I think we can be even quicker.”
Team Principal Henri Pescarolo was equally as thrilled for his drivers. “What a brilliant race and superb result for Christophe and Harold,” he said. “They both drove fantastic races today. Harold was right with the Creation during his second stint and was really closing towards the end, and then the battle between Christophe and Hall, and that overtaking manoeuvre on final lap, was something very special!”