Larbre fight back for impressive Barcelona podium

Larbre fight back for impressive Barcelona podium

06.04.2008: Larbre fight back for impressive Barcelona podium

Larbre Competition scored a fine second place in the GT1 class after a courageous recovery drive from Christophe Bouchut, Patrick Bornhauser and Frederic Makowiecki at the opening round of the 2008 Le Mans Series in Barcelona.

Engine problems plagued the team during practice on Friday and Saturday, leaving them no time to set up their Saleen S7R for the race, while the need to replace the engine before qualifying, also meant they missed the chance to set a time and therefore started 48th and last on the grid.

Sterling work by the team ensured that the car was ready to take its place at the start of the 1000km race on Sunday morning, and Frenchman Christophe Bouchut immediately began the task of charging through the field. As early as lap 17 he was 31st, having picked off all the GT2 class runners, and was up to the GT1 class podium places by lap 28, having overtaken the no.73 Corvette C6.R of Roland Berville and the Lamborghini Murcielago of Roman Rusinov.

Unfortunately, as Bouchut closed to within a few seconds of the GT1 leaders, the race’s only Safety Car period caused the team to lose a lap and drop back to fourth.

Bornhauser’s consistent stint kept the Saleen in contention for the podium, and then Frederic Makowiecki reeled in and re-passed, the IPB Spartak Racing Lamborghini for third. The retirement of the Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9 promoted Makowiecki to second, but despite his, and then Bouchut’s, best efforts in the closing stages, the class winning no.72 Luc Alphand Adventures Corvette C6.R was just too far ahead to catch.

Team Principal Jack Leconte: "In practice we had absolutely no time to prepare for the race and basically started with the theoretical set up we’d worked out before the weekend. It is of huge credit to the guys on the team that we’ve scored such a fine result. Our performance in the second part of the race was extremely encouraging. Christophe and Patrick have gained more experience of driving together, which they can now use in the next couple of rounds of the FFSA GT championship."

Christophe Bouchut: "Not having any time to set the car up is a massive handicap, but while we lacked some performance, the balance of the car was not too bad. The Safety Car cost us any chance of victory but we fought hard to secure a very positive result."

Patrick Bornhauser: "This was my Le Mans Series debut so I’m delighted to have finished on the podium despite the difficult circumstances we’ve faced this weekend. The race was very physically demanding but overall I have really enjoyed myself."

Frederic Makowiecki: "I think it’s a great result, and I must thank the team for the superb job they’ve done in fitting a fresh engine and giving us a quick, reliable car in the face of all the adversity they’ve had since Friday morning. This was a fantastic effort by Larbre Competition!"


- Andy Wilkinson - also photo


06.04.2008 / MaP

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