Larbre Competition’s championship hopes suffer blow at Silverstone

17.09.2007: Larbre Competition’s championship hopes suffer blow at Silverstone

Larbre Competition’s hopes of winning the Le Mans Series GT1 title were dealt a blow at the Silverstone 1000kms as Car 50 of Christophe Bouchut, Fabrizio Gollin and Gabriele Gardel finished seventh having led the race in the early stages.

However, there was much better news for Car 51 of Greg Franchi, Gregor Fisken and Steve Zacchia, who took their best finish of the season with a fine fourth place at the British circuit.

Car 50’s race started well as Bouchut held his third place off the grid. An early tactical pit stop under the first Safety Car of the day gave them a strategic on-track advantage and some quick laps from the Frenchman saw him move his Aston Martin DBR9 into the lead.

After Bouchut’s double-stint, Italian Fabrizio Gollin took over the car, and was running second behind the Team Modena Aston Martin before contact with a prototype car at Priory saw his car pushed off and beached in the gravel. Two laps were lost and when Gollin pitted, he handed over to Gabriele Gardel in fourth place. The Swiss driver kept the team in contention for a podium for, closing in on third throughout his double-stint before handing back to Bouchut. However a broken driveshaft, a result of by Gollin’s earlier off, cost more time in the pits and meant they finished the race in a distant seventh position in GT1.

 

Team Principal Jack Leconte said: "The race was the fiercest GT1 battle of the season. For the first time this year the Saleen didn’t dominate and we were enjoying a great battle at the front with Team Modena’s Aston Martin. Unfortunately, we ended up in the gravel trap and later, as a result of that off, the driveshaft broke. I’m afraid this incident has cost us the championship."

 

Fabrizio Gollin explained what had happened. "A prototype was behind me coming through Bridge corner and I just didn’t see him. He tried a risky move on me and we touched heading in to Priory, forcing me off line and ultimately into the gravel trap. It’s a huge shame because a podium was easily possible."

 

Christophe Bouchut: "The team did a great job during the first Safety Car period. We stopped at the right time and gained an advantage. We were leading and on course to meet our objectives, so I’m disappointed because, although the car wasn’t perfect, it was quick enough to fight for the win today."

 

Gabriele Gardel: "We’re too far behind in the title race now and it looks like we’ll have to settle for third in championship. That’s a shame but now we have to look towards next season and try to regain our title."

 

There were very different emotions for the drivers of Car 51, who achieved their best finish of the season in fourth place. Greg Franchi, Gregor Fisken and Steve Zacchia all drove consistent stints, whilst the car ran without any problems, finishing ahead of both the Luc Alphand Adventures Corvette C6.R and the Racing Box Saleen S7.

 

Jack Leconte: "The drivers of Car 51 have gelled together well this season so I’m really pleased for them to get this result. We pushed hard and the average lap time was on the pace of the cars in front. In the final stint Steve did a very good job to keep ahead of Oliver Gavin’s Corvette."

 

Greg Franchi: "We managed to stay clear of any mechanical problems today. The car didn’t feel as good as it did at Spa, and we lost maybe a lap behind the first Safety Car, but overall we have to be very satisfied with this result."

 

Gregor Fisken: "It’s been a good day for us. We were very close to a podium finish and although we profited a little from our rivals’ misfortune, we had a very clean race. Everyone put in a really good effort and I’m delighted to score this result at my home circuit."

 

Steve Zacchia: "It was a tough race but a good result for the team. It’s difficult to find a good set up at Silverstone because of the range of high speed and low speed corners. In the final stint I had to push really hard as the Corvette was closing in. We’re all very happy to have achieved our best result of the season."

 

 

- Andy Wilkinson -

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17.09.2007 / MaP

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