How was the first qualifying session?
Allan Simonsen driver of No 95 Aston Martin : “We drove 'faster than we could' - I really had to concentrate to get that pole time. It should have been on one of the first laps, but I ended up having to do three laps to get the fourth one right."
And what about tonight?
"Depending on the weather, we might push a bit harder again tonight, but it is the engineers who decide what we do and when. We really would like to get to that 'pole position' point for the WEC, so we will do what we can to keep it. When we get to Bahrain we might be missing by that one point, so having had the opportunity to get it here and not retaining it would be annoying”.
“If it stays dry, we'll see faster times all around . Last year we qualified 3rd or 4th in the ”Am” class, and we're now 1/10th of a second faster - mind you, we're running with more ballast. However, I think we will need to put in laps in the low 3:57's to stay on top. If it stays dry, these are the kind of times the others will also be putting in, so if it's dry tonight, we'll give it another shot and hope that is enough to retain the pole. If not, we probably will have to back off, to save the tyres. We don't have that many tyres to play with (because Michelin has imposed limits on us due to availability of tyres) It's sad to have this many crashes in practice and qualifying, that's never nice - and it breaks the rhythm for the others, - but this is Le Mans, this is what makes it so special.
How do you feel about coming to Le Mans?
"But just being at Le Mans and be allowed to drive the car on the track is incredibly special, - it's the biggest race for us. It's the one we most look forward to. It's also difficult because there are so many excellent drivers here from all over the world - a huge challenge. Being a 100% Danish team (as we were last year) is very special, - we have so much support from Danish TV stations and radio, and there are about 25,000 Danes down here watching the race. We visited one of the Danish camps this morning and there were Danish cars everywhere - not just at the dedicated camp. It's not cheap to make the journey from Denmark down to Le Mans, but even so we still have so many people down here. Apart from being a sign of growing interest for motor sport, it also could be seen as a sign of prosperity - maybe the crisis actually is nearing its end? Let's hope so. Last year our car was also run by ProDrive, but we had our own mechanics from the German Young Driver Team with us, and the car was provided by Young Driver. This year it is 100% ProDrive, we just turn up to drive it. There are 5 cars, and they are all 100% Aston Martin Racing factory cars - two 'Am' and three 'Pro'.”
"The start is the most nervous time of it all, this is where the largest risk occurs, you've got “15 other headless bananas” behind you, plus “Pro” cars in front - you need to stay out of harms way, but at the same time be in there and keep the speed up all the way. The start is not really the most enjoyable thing to look forward to - once everything settles down, and all of us have had a stint, it gets better and better."
Interview by Lennart Sorth / ACO