Algarve Pro Racing is running well in a solid 12th position at the midway point of the 87th 24 Hours of Le Mans with the #25 ORECA 07 LMP2 and drivers Andrea Pizzitola, John Falb and David Zollinger.
The twice-around-the-clock endurance race began with Pizzitola making several overtakes to rise from 16th to eighth during a relentless quadruple stint;
An early fuel refill helped Algarve Pro Racing’s push, as it took the team out of sequence with its LMP2 rivals for the first few hours;
American racer Falb picked up the baton, taking time to build confidence and speed until, in the latter stages of his first triple stint, he was the fastest Am driver in the field;
Zollinger inherited the #25 ORECA in 14th and pushed on to reduce the gap to the 13th-placed runner, and Algarve Pro Racing was 12th at the end of Pizzitola’s second stint;
Falb returned to the cockpit after the sun had set on Circuit de la Sarthe. The Las Vegas driver inherited the car in 12th and kept Algarve Pro in position for the duration of a lonely night drive that was only spiced up by Safety Car restarts;
A minor collision with a bollard caused light damage to the #25 machine’s front splitter, so Algarve Pro’s mechanics set about constructing a new nose section in readiness for an 11th-hour driver-switch to Zollinger;
The repair was successful and the car is running flawlessly into the early hours of Sunday (16 June) morning.
John Falb (#25 Algarve Pro Racing ORECA 07 LMP2): “I was a little more nervous than I thought at the start of my first stint, so I struggled for a while and it took some time for me to get up to speed, but going into the final phase, I was able to get my head down and put some good times in.
“Racing in the dark doesn’t really bother me too much – I really enjoy it – and during my second triple stint, I often felt alone out there. However, there were a couple of Safety Cars and the restarts were mental, because a field made up of four classes is bunched up, everybody tries to pass or lap each other at the same time and dust gets thrown up everywhere. Unfortunately, they tend to replace the bollards and I tagged one, knocking the front splitter a little. It wasn’t a big deal, but it’s annoying.”
David Zollinger (#25 Algarve Pro Racing ORECA 07 LMP2): “My stint was interesting, although I spent a long time behind the Safety Car, so there were boring moments. Other than that, we changed the tyres halfway through the stint because of the lower temperatures. Then the car was perfect, running very well. I took a lot of fun from driving it and I’m looking forward to seeing what it gives during the night.”