MOTOR SPORT: Alex Brundle’s bid for victory at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours ended in bitter disappointment.
A spark plug problem cost the King’s Lynn driver’s G-Drive Racing by OAK Racing squad victory in the LMP2 class.
The No.35 Ligier JS P2 Nissan he shared with Jann Mardenborough and Mark Shulzhitskiy dominated its class but was denied a win on its competitive debut as a result of an engine gremlin.
Such was Brundle’s advantage that he was able to hold on to the class lead for another three hours before the limping Ligier was overhauled by the chasing pack with just 110 minutes remaining. It eventually came home fifth.
Brundle first climbed aboard after 90 minutes on Saturday but was immediately called back to the pits for wet weather tyres when two separate short, sharp showers doused the Circuit de la Sarthe.
Despite tricky track conditions, the 23-year-old took top-spot in class after four-and-a-half hours. Indeed, the car’s advantage was over 20 seconds by the time Brundle completed his triple stint 45 minutes later.
He was back aboard just before 1am for the first of two quick and consistent quadruple stints through the night, during which he set the car’s fastest time and helped establish a lead of more than one lap.
His performance did not go unnoticed, with respected Radio Le Mans analyst Paul Truswell nominating the crew for the station’s annual Robin Goodman Spirit of the Race Award.
“We’re gutted, to be honest, but that’s Le Mans for you,” said Brundle. “We were out front controlling the race and had a handy advantage. The car was losing about 10 seconds per lap, so although it took them a while to close in it was inevitable.”