Aston Martin Racing finished first and fourth at the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Laguna Seca on Saturday 21 October. Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin taking the final victory of the 2006 American Le Mans Series in their Aston Martin DBR9, the team’s fifth win this year.
Aston Martin Racing finished second in the teams and manufacturers championships and Stephane Sarrazin also finished second in the drivers championship.
Seconds after the two-hour point Stephane Sarrazin was forced to take evasive action as a prototype crashed just in front of him. Sarrazin went to the left of the accident across the gravel, narrowly missing a large piece of the prototype’s bodywork. The 009 car did not sustain any damage and continued to race.
The safety car picked up the race leader and Sarrazin received a wave by, pitting on lap 88 for fuel and tyres and rejoining in fourth position. The safety car was deployed for 14 laps to enable track officials to clear debris and oil from the track.
A fourth safety car period on lap 101 allowed Sarrazin to pit for fuel without loosing track position.
At the three-hour point the 007 DBR9 lead the race and the 009 DBR9 was in second place. Enge in the 007 DBR9 suffered a left front puncture on lap 119 and was forced to pit for tyres and fuel rejoining in fourth place.
Sarrazin took the lead following Enge’s pit stop and began a titanic battle with the one of the Corvettes who was just a fraction of a second behind.
Sarrazin lost the battle for first place to the Corvette with 30 minutes of the race remaining, but he regained the class lead moments later as the pair reached the corner at the end of the straight.
The battle for first place continued right until the end of the race with Sarrazin coming out on top.
George Howard-Chappell, Team Principal, Aston Martin Racing:
“A fantastic drive and an amazing manoeuvre from Stephane when it looked like we were going to loose the lead. Clearly we didn’t have the fastest car but the race strategy from both camps won us the race.
“I would like to say a big thank you to the whole team, to Aston Martin, to Pirelli and all of our sponsors.
“I am happy that we have managed to win five of the ten races in this challenging year.”
Pedro Lamy 009 DBR9:
“It was very close and Stephane did a great job at the end. We were unlucky a couple of times during the season and maybe we deserved to win more races but it is great to win the final race of the season. “
Stephane Sarrazin 009 DBR9:
“It was a really exciting race for me, maybe my best race of the season because it was really difficult, I spent almost three hours in the car and sometimes it was very bad in the traffic and I was loosing too much time, I was off the line so my tyres were getting lots of pick up.
“The second part of the race was much better and I pushed 100%. For me it was not an option to loose the race, I was determined to win.
“It is great to come second in the drivers championship. We have been unlucky a few times, for example at the last race when we had a puncture when we were in the lead, but overall it has been good. I have been very happy to drive with Pedro, he is a good friend and I have enjoyed driving with him. It has been a great season for me, one of my best.”
Tomas Enge 007 DBR9:
“I am disappointed we finished fourth but we have won two races this year and overall it has been a good season. We have had some great battles with our team mates and the other GT1 competitors.”
Darren Turner 007 DBR9:
“Tomas said to me last night that I had to be in second place by the first corner so he is going to be a bit disappointed as it took me till the third corner to get up to second! I was really happy with the start because I didn’t want to get stuck behind anyone. Pedro was very fast at the beginning and I was just happy to get past the Corvettes.
“We had good pace but as soon as the first safety cars periods came, everyone’s strategy changed and it was difficult to tell where you were in relation to the others until towards the end of the race.
“It is a shame we were unlucky and got the puncture near the end of the race but I don’t think we would have won anyway because we were a stop out to everyone else but that is just how it is sometimes.”
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