Larbre Competition running strongly amid chaotic Le Mans start

Larbre Competition successfully negotiated the tricky start to this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours to occupy 11th in the highly competitive LMP2 class after Pierre Ragues, Ricky Taylor and Keiko Ihara survived a rain-hit and accident-filled opening five hours of the French endurance classic at the wheel of their #50 Morgan-Judd. Reigning European Le Mans Series champion Ragues completed two strong opening stints before handing over to Tudor United SportsCar Championship points leader Taylor. But the American ace had barely completed a lap when heavy rain initially soaked only part of the 8.4-mile Circuit de la Sarthe. Several spectacular accidents prompted the first inevitable Safety Car period at 16:30, forcing Taylor to pit for wet weather tyres and swap with Ihara.The female Japanese racer was able to push on once racing resumed, but the respite proved short-lived when another sharp shower blew in, caught out two of Larbre Competition’s LMP2 rivals and necessitated a second Safety Car period. Having successfully negotiated the difficult conditions once racing resumed, Ihara handed the car back to Taylor who went on to complete another trouble-free double stint and consolidate 11th position. Ragues then returned to the fray at 20:00 to continue his co-drivers’ good work.Keiko Ihara: “I replaced Ricky when the first Safety Car came out, then covered seven laps shod with wet weather tyres. Even with these the conditions remained pretty tricky out there, so I was pleased with how I managed to finish my stint before handing the car safely over to Ricky after the second caution period.” Pierre Ragues: “I decided to make a cautious start and let through the Greaves Motorsport Zytek that was hot on my heels, especially as I had already noticed some rain drops falling along the Mulsanne. I encountered a lot of traffic during the last three laps of my double stint, and the speed was also a bit down at the end because of the tyres going off. But apart from that we managed to stay out of trouble amid the accidents and rain. So far, so good.”Ricky Taylor: “I climbed in the car as the heavens opened, so only did one lap before bringing the car back safely.”