Friday, May 29, 2009

Le Mans: Verstappen Crashes Aston Martin Challenger; Audi Confirm Driver Line-Up


ASTON MARTIN has suffered a blow to its Le Mans 24 Hours preparations after Dutchman Jos Verstappen destroyed one of its cars in testing at Monza.

The former Benetton F1 driver lost control of the car at Curva Parabolica, launching off the track and into the barriers at 15 G, writing off one of Aston Martin’s three LMP1 chassis.

After emerging from the car’s wreckage unharmed, Verstappen was unable to fathom how he lost control of the Le Mans challenger, expressing his frustration at crashing during his first test with the outfit.

“I was not even pushing for a quick lap time. I was 1.4s slower than my fastest time,” he said on his website.

“At the Parabolica I braked at exactly at the same point where I had on the previous laps. We can see from the data that there was less than a metre’s difference.

“But the moment I touched the brake pedal, the rear wheels locked and I spun the car. Then I hit the barriers at 308km/h and that was it.”


Meanwhile, Audi has announced the team of drivers it hopes will secure the manufacturer its eighth Le Mans 24 Hours victory in nine years.

Defending champions Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello will again join forces in a bid to repeat last year’s success, racing in the #1 R15 TDI.

Following their third place finish at Sebring, the German trio of Lucas Luhr, Mike Rockenfeller and Marco Werner will compete in Audi’s second entry while Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Alex Premat will form team #3.

Audi motorsport boss Dr Wolfgang Ullrich is confident he has assembled a squad capable of earning the manufacturer a sixth successive victory at Le Mans.

“I’m convinced that we’ve filled the cockpits of all three R15 TDI cars at Le Mans with outstanding racers,” he said.