Battles set to rage in Silverstone 1000kms

Battles set to rage in Silverstone 1000kms

12.09.2007: Battles set to rage in Silverstone 1000kms

The Le Mans Series returns to Silverstone for the first time since 2005, and the British track could be the the title decider in "LM" P1 with Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin holding a commanding lead in their Peugeot. Yet elsewhere the battles should go to the final race in Brazil in November.

In "LM" P2, two wins have given the RML team a seven-point advantage over Quifel-ASM whose drivers will not relinquish their title easily. In GT1, three wins for the ORECA Saleen has put Stephane Ortelli, overall race winner here in 2005 with Audi, and Soheil Ayari into a one point lead over the Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette, while in GT2, three points separate the Virgo Motorsport Ferrari of Rob Bell and Allan Simonsen and the Porsche of Marc Lieb and Xavier Pompidou.

In each class, the prize is a lucrative place on the 2008, invitation only Le Mans 24 hours.

"LM" P1

Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin could seal the title at Silverstone if they can finish ahead of the number 16 Pescarolo, and they need to score only two more points to prevent their team-mates Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gene from winning the title.

Minassian and Gene have scored pole position at each of the four races this year and it is Gene’s turn to qualify at Silverstone, but two retirements in four races left their title hopes in ruins.

Not so for the Pescarolo pair of Jean-Christophe Boullion and Emmanuel Collard. Pescarolo has been there to pick up should either of the factory diesel-powered Peugeots fail, and the little French team has been rewarded with three podium finishes this year.

Not only that, but the team also won the Michelin Energy Endurance challenge at Spa. The challenge highlights the quest of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest to promote endurance racing as a test bed for manufacturers, and to improve efficiency of the cars competing in the Le Mans 24 hours and the Le Mans Series.

The Arena Motorsport team has recovered from its disappointment at Spa to field the youngest driver ever to have competed in the Le Mans Series. 16-year-old Max Chilton will drive with his 22-year old brother, Tom, in the team’s Zytek having in Paul Ricard on August 27/28.

Max, a British Formula Three driver, was just half a second off the pace of his brother, who contests the British Touring Car Championship and is a Le Mans Series regular. Tom expects to drive for his maximum allowed four hours. "The biggest thing for Max is going to be the overtaking, because he is not used to that," says Tom.

"The different cars are going at very different speeds, so he will have to learn that. It is a good job he is a fast learner!"

 

"LM" P2

No fewer than 12 cars are entered for the Silverstone 1000kms, and the race will be tougher than ever. The RML team has won twice, but will face stiff competition not only from the Quifel-ASM Team, but also from Embassy Racing which has been testing recently with its Radical and has gained a lot of time from the car.

"I am going to stick my neck out here, but I would say that we are going for the win," says Team Manager Jody Firth. Team regulars Warren Hughes and Neil Cunningham will share with Indy Racing League star Darren Manning once again.

Silverstone sees the return of T2M with its Dome Mader in the hands of Yutaka Yamagashi, who will be joined by Vanina Ickx, the Audi DTM driver who makes a welcome return to the series for the first time since she contested the 2005 season with Rollcentre Racing.

 

GT1

Team Modena has a new driver for this weekend for its Aston Martin DBR9 as Darren Turner joins team regular Antonio Garcia.

Turner was a double-winner at the latest round of the British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill for Seat, but he is no stranger to GT racing having driven the factory Aston Martin at Le Mans, finishing second in class in 2006.

Oliver Gavin, a four time class winner at Le Mans with the factory Corvette team and who leads the GT1 class of the American Le Mans Series, joins the Luc Alphand Aventures team. Gavin contested the Spa 24 hours, a round of the FIA GT Championship, with the Corvette team and with no racing planned until the Petit Le Mans in Atlanta in October, he is able to contest his home race.

GT2

The battle between Porsche and Ferrari is being closely fought between the Pirelli-shod Team Felbermayr Proton of Marc Lieb and Xavier Pompidou, and the Virgo Motorsport Ferrari of Rob Bell and Allan Simonsen. The pair have two wins apiece and both have lost points to decisions with the safety car. Both are therefore hoping for a dry, incident-free race.

Also in contention is the IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche of Richard Lietz and Raymond Narac, and the Ferraris of GPC Sport and Scuderia VillorbaCorse which led after the second race in Spain following two podium position finishes.

 

Friday, September 14

0945-1015 CER FP

1030-1130 Le Mans Series FP

1315-1400 207 Spider Cup FP

1415-1515 Radical World Cup FP

1530-1630 Le Mans Series FP

1645-1715 CER Q

Saturday, September 15

0930-1030 Le Mans Series FP

1050-1140 207 Spider Cup Q

1150-1220 CER Q

1230-1300 Radical World Cup Q

1345-1405 Le Mans Series LMP Q

1410-1430 Le Mans Series GT Q

1445-1515 207 Spider Cup R1

1530-1630 CER R1

1645-1730 Radical World Cup R1

Sunday, September 16

0845-0905 Le Mans Series WU

0915-1000 Radical World Cup R2

1015-1045 207 Spider Cup R2

1030-1100 Autograph session

1100-1120 Pit walk

1200-1800 Le Mans Series R

196 laps or six hours

 

 

- Marine Allainguillaume -  photos Jacques Létihon, Luc Depiesse

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/le-mans-series-1000km-silverstone-peugeot-pescarolo-rob-bell-virgo-motorsport-porsche-oreca-saleen-alphand-corvette-quifel-asm-rml-ickx---27653.html

12.09.2007 / MaP

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