With Adrian Fernandez behind the wheel, the 007 car was the quickest in the first practice session with a time of 1m13.213, some 0.072 seconds ahead of the second placed LMP1 (Le Mans Prototype 1) car.
Normally conditioned for long distance endurance races, this 100-minute dash was always going to be a tough call for the Aston Martin. That said the car ran with maximum downforce, allowing it to better tackle the hairpin like bends of the tree lined circuit with sufficient grip from the Michelin tyres.
But two-safety car periods meant that the initial lead established by driver Harold Primat, was severely eroded with the number 37 car grabbing the lead from the Aston Martin.
If that wasn’t disappointing, another car made contact with Primat, sending him into a tyre barrier, causing rear end damage and back to third position.
The offending car was held for a stop/go penalty, which allowed the 007 car to regain second position.
Another pit stop and driver change was made under yet another yellow flag, which meant that Adrian Fernandez was behind the safety car for 13 minutes before racing resumed.
With only 4 minutes remaining in the race, Fernandez made a desperate run and took the lead in the final lap, only to concede the hard fought gain when he ran slightly wide through turn five and had to settle for second place across the finish line. Nonetheless, it was an outstanding result for the team, and its third consecutive podium finish in the hotly contested Le Mans Series.
Clearly disappointed, team principle George Howard-Chappell said: “We’re very disappointed to have lost first place so close to the end. It was however a very exciting race and the team had as lot to deal with throughout. Everyone did a great job, but it is a real shame not to win today.”
Adrian Fernandez said: “As I took over the car mid way through the race, there were issues with brake fade, but I managed to climb back up to first position before the end by staying as consistent as possible and keeping clear of traffic. It was a real shame to have lost first place.”