Jan Charouz / Tomas Enge / Stefan Mucke, (Aston Martin Racing) Lola Aston Martin
Aston Martin Racing claimed all three podium positions at the Nurburgring 1000Km after a dominant display in the penultimate round of the Le Mans Series.
Stefan Mucke, Jan Charouz and Tomas Enge claimed the victory aboard the fastest of the three AMR Lola-Aston LMP1 coupes after leading much of the way. They ended up a minute clear of the second-placed car driven by Darren Turner and Harold Primat and two laps ahead of the third entry shared by Miguel Ramos, Stuart Hall and Chris Buncombe.
The winning car looked set for an easy victory until Charouz spun early in the fourth hour. A lead of over a minute shrunk to less than 30 seconds as a result of the spin and then Turner was able to close down and pass the Czech driver over the remainder of the stint.
Turner then had the measure of Enge, who was struggling on with the same set of tires used by Charouz after what the team described as a "communication error." That resulted in an early stop that left Enge more than a minute behind his fellow AMR driver. That put the leading Lola-Astons out of synch on pit stops and, although Primat early in the final hour, the positions were reversed when he made his final stop.
AMR's cause was helped by problems for the Pescarolo Sport team, whose drivers led the championship ahead of the Nurburgring weekend. The Pescarolo-Judd driven by Jean-Christophe Boullion, Christophe Tinseau and Emmanuel Collard went out early with a gearbox problem.
The LMP2 division was dominated by the ASM team's Ginetta-Zytek. Olivier Pla raced away from the class opposition and then Miguel Amaral was able to hang onto a two-lap lead. Only in the dying minutes when a front wheel arch louvre was replaced did its lead shrink to a lap.
Larbre Competition won the two-car GT1 class even though its Saleen S7R dropped nine laps off the lead after a long stop to resolve brake issues. Laurent Groppi, Roland Berville and Sebastien Dumez subsequently inherited class victory when the Luc Alphand Aventures Chevrolet Corvette encountered engine problems.
Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz won GT2 honors in the Felbermayr Proton Porsche. They took over the lead once the JMW Motorsport Ferrari driven by Rob Bell and Gianmaria Bruni lost one-minute advantage when a driveshaft failed.
AMR drivers Mucke, Charouz and Enge have now taken a seven-point lead as the LMS heads to Silverstone next month for the Autosport 1000Km.