11 April, 2010
The first event of the 2010 Le Mans Series provided enough excitement for a whole season of GT racing. CRS came away with a fourth place finish for the No.90 Ferrari, driven by Pierre Ehret, Phil Quaife and Pierre Kaffer. The No.91 car of Andrew Kirkaldy and Tim was in contention for a top result. It ultimately retired with a driveshaft failure but not before providing a lot of entertainment.
At the halfway mark Tim Mullen was running in second place and had just set his fastest time of the race. He was due in for a pit stop where he would be given fuel only as the plan was to double-stint his tyres in order to take a bite out of the race-leading Porsche’s advantage. The trouble is, he never made it to the pits. The team had lost radio contact with Tim so when the driveshaft problem struck he was unable to tell the pit crew what had happened.
“It happened as I was coming onto the back straight,” explained Mullen. “I managed to crawl around to turn ten but then there is a slight incline so I couldn’t go any further. It's a real shame as the car has been mega this weekend.”
In the meantime Phil Quaife was having a very competitive second stint. He caught and passed Ragginger’s Porsche, getting right into the groove this time around.
“I felt at home in the car right away this time,” said Quaife. “I’ve got my head around racing with prototypes now. I know what to expect and it all felt better from the moment I left the pit lane. The car ran faultlessly so I was very happy.”
Quaife came in and handed over to Pierre Kaffer who during his stint moved the No.90 Ferrari all the way up to third place.
Pierre Ehret was the next man in and he too put o! n a great show, holding his nerve when he was hit by a prototype, which punctured his front right tyre, forcing him to pit early.
“That hit lost us a lot of time,” said Ehret. “The fourth place finish is a fantastic result for us though. Phil and Pierre did a fabulous job, as did the entire team. It’s a great way to start the season!”
It was Kaffer’s stunning final stint that secured fourth place for the team. He was steadily catching Russo’s Ferrari and then with just 15 minutes remaining it started to rain. As the team watched with baited breath he took a massive chunk out of Russo’s lead and quickly passed him for fourth, bagging a good haul of championship points for CRS.
“It has been a great start to the season as CRS begins its inaugural LMS participation,” said CRS Managing Director Mark Busfield. “The team worked very well this weeken! d to get the cars on the pace and secure a good result for the first race. I think our performance showed a lot of promise. We’ve enjoyed our weekend and we have made some great new friends within the Le Mans Series so roll on Spa for the next installment of LMS action!”