No less than seven teams could have won the race in Spain yesterday, emphasizing just how competitive the 2009 Le Mans Series season should be. IPB Spartak Racing returned to form, Aston Martin Racing was back on top, Racing Box scored their first victory in the class, and Team Felbermayr-Proton clinched their best result since a while.
The winter intensive development work has obviously paid off for the bulk of the team; this is why the race has been thrilling till the end. 23,000 spectators could meet the drivers during the autograph session and enjoy a very entertaining round, whose issue has been confused by three safety-cars. The sun has unexpectedly been shining all day to praise official Aston Martin Racing's come-back and...victory!
Race : Classification Date
Pos. N° Cat. Team Car Nb Laps 1 007 "LM"P1 Aston Martin Racing Lola Aston Martin 209 2 16 "LM"P1 Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo - Judd 209 3 10 "LM"P1 Team Oreca Matmut - AIM Courage-Oreca LC70 - AIM 206 7 30 "LM"P2 Racing Box Lola B08/80 Coupé - Judd 201 8 40 "LM"P2 Quifel - ASM Team Ginetta-Zytek 09S - Zytek 201 9 29 "LM"P2 Racing Box Lola B08/80 Coupé - Judd 195 13 55 "LM"GT1 IPB Spartak Racing Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT 189 15 72 "LM"GT1 Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R 187 22 50 "LM"GT1 Larbre Competition Saleen S7R - Ford 184 14 77 "LM"GT2 Team Felbermayr - Proton Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 187 16 92 "LM"GT2 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F430 GT 186 17 89 "LM"GT2 Hankook - Team Farnbacher Ferrari F430 GT 185
What an official start for the Lola-Aston Martin in LMP1!
The two Lolas-Aston Martin were widely admired for their livery, but also for their performance as the team scored a victory for their first entry as a works team. The Britons already proved to be reliable last year, clinching two podiums in Le Mans Series but this is the first time that they have been able to reach the top of the podium, after leading only 60 laps. Stefan Mücke was second before the last stint and could overtake his main opponent a few laps before the end of the race, as he confirmed: “I did not really think of the victory at the beginning of my last stint. The car had a good balance after we made a few changes. I am very happy because it was a great race and we were lucky in traffic, but if you have a good car, you can attack and overtake very easily.”
A brand new Pescarolo finished second a few seconds behind the British car after a tough battle that disappointed Christophe Tinseau: “The Lola-Aston Martin was a little bit quicker, not so much, but quick enough to overtake me. We lost time in the pits and we must work on this part.” But this is a tremendous result for a car which ran for the first time on a first track last Friday, whereas Team Oreca-Matmut, third, has not modified aero yet.
The rookie Bruno Senna is on the podium for his first race in Le Mans Series. He said that “this was a great race, quite special because it was my first one. My car has been reliable and consistent and I did not make any mistake, which was not easy in traffic. At the end, I felt very comfortable in the car.”
Six leader's changes showed that the class is highly competitive this season and really promising for the coming-up races, as LMP2 is.
Racing Box confirms its pole in LMP2
Two cars, one pole and two podiums: Team Racing Box could not dream of a better take-off for the season with the Lola-Judd. The British chassis-manufacturer is today's big winner in LMPs, which made Andrea Piccini very glad: “The team did a great job in a very short amount of time. We only had one car for the winter tests and both cars are on the podium. We only had a few small problems and I did not need to push too much. Michelin also did a good job because we could double stints from the beginning.”
Between both Lolas, the new Quifel ASM Team Ginetta-Zytek showed that the car was not only fast, but also reliable for its first race. The Portuguese team started and finished second, despite a technical problem while changing a rim. With six prototypes gathered in a few laps, the class is stronger than ever and the title should be very keenly contested.
The Russian flag flies in LMGT1
Starting from behind despite qualifying on pole, IPB Spartak Racing Lamborghini Murcielago won its first race in the series, partly because of Michelin tires as Peter Kox explained: “I started from the back and the safety-car helped me a little bit, but above all, we owe our victory to our tires.”
Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette could not do better than second because the team-owner and driver as well span and lost several minutes in the gravel bed. In spite of a small field, the fight proved to be tough and should keep on that way for the future.
Porsche is back in LMGT2
Team Felbermayr-Proton showed today that they deserve the vice-champions' title last year and won the class. The German team brought another victory to Porsche after Classic Endurance Racing yesterday. Marc Lieb accounted the result for: “Our stint is about one or two laps longer than Ferrari's one and we can keep the same pace, this is why we could finish in front of them.”
The defending champions lead their Ferrari to the second position and the newcomer as a tire-manufacturer Hankook can be proud of finishing third with Team Hankook-Farbacher and a Ferrari.
Michelin Green X Challenge
Team Bruichladdich Bruneau and his Dunlop tires have win the Michelin Green X Challenge for the opening race of the season. This event was special for Pierre Bruneau who won ten years ago on this same track with his Debora.
Porsche and Britons shine in support races
Porsche deprived Lola of another victory this weekend. The former endurance star Porsche 908/4 won the Classic Endurance Racing with Jean-Marc Luco, who started from the second position and has had a quite easy race.
The “God save the Queen” filled the air twice in Radical European Masters thanks to Stuart Moseley and Derek Johnston. If the pair started from the pole for the first race, the second race has been another story since they had to jump from the third row to bring the trophy home.
If you missed the race, Eurosport International broadcasts a sum-up tonight from 12:00 am to 12:30 am and on next Tuesday from 12:00 am to 12:30 am.