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TURNER: Le Mans Debrief

AMR’s Darren Turner files his latest Sportscar365 column…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

After the Test Day and then the Wednesday/Thursday running at Le Mans, we weren’t feeling particularly confident as we were really struggling to find a nice balance.

We were okay for speed over one lap but the car always felt like it was on a knife-edge.

When the race started I was fairly cautious as I wanted to get a feel for the car I had underneath me and then gradually build up the pace.

Within a lap or two though I thought ‘this car is feeling pretty good’. After warm up we had reverted to a set up we’d used earlier in the week and once the track rubbered in it proved to be the right way to go.

Le Mans is a long race so, even though the car was feeling good, I sat in the tow of the car in front and let them dictate the pace.

Everything was going well when the first pit stops came around. Magnussen, Bruni and me all came into the pits nose-to-tail but we had a communication problem, which caused us to trip over our own feet and lose at least 10 seconds.

I got busy with catching up but halfway through the second stint the rain came and I ended up in the middle of a Mad Max movie.

As I exited Tetre Rouge, heading to the first Mulsanne Chicane I saw a Ferrari ahead going really slowly so I backed off, which in turn made Makowiecki behind me back off.

I think he touched the barrier and then all hell broke loose. The Toyota came steaming down the right hand side of me and clipped the Audi, then Sam Bird hit the Audi, sending it my way and it missed the back of my car by a foot!

So that was the early excitement and once that was out of the way Stefan jumped in and did a great job in the wet conditions.

Once the track dried out we settled into a good rhythm and enjoyed some tremendous wheel-to-wheel racing.

When Bruno was out in the morning the power steering system sprung a leak and he had to come in. The guys did a good job to get the car back out on the track but that was the end of our challenge.

We made it to the finish line but it was a case of what could have been. We were ultimately successful in terms of pace but scuppered by a small problem, which is so often the way at Le Mans.

The highlight of the whole event was the No. 95 Aston winning.

The Danish crew deserved that after picking themselves up from what happened last year. There couldn’t have been a more fitting tribute to Allan.

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