The No.26 G-Drive Racing entry took a well-deserved podium finish in third place with the No.42 Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan close behind in a fighting fourth position.
The No.42 Zytek-Nissan of Michael Krumm, Lucas Ordonez and Jann Mardenborough ran in third place for a large part of the race but took fourth at the flag after luck didn’t go their way.
‘In racing you need luck,’ said Krumm. ‘The whole team and all three drivers worked hard and made no mistakes but this year’s race was unique. We lost a driver yesterday and the entire race has been chaotic; I have never seen so many safety cars in a race.
‘The luck wasn’t there for us as we lost time during nearly all of the safety car periods and I think ultimately that was the difference between taking a podium place or fourth place.
‘My team mates were amazing,’ he continued. ‘Jann took the start so I told him to keep it simple and that he could prove his speed during ‘‘happy hour’’. I was so impressed with him. If you can push hard and not put the car in the wall you have talent and he is clearly a big talent and he deserves congratulations.
‘Lucas was perfect; he kept his head down and delivered a solid, experienced performance. I think this was the most difficult race I ever had. Moments like the restarts in the rain and a few very near misses make me appreciate this fourth place finish.’
Lucas Ordonez was in the same position as Jann Mardenborough two years ago when he took part in his first Le Mans but as he explains the challenges of this race don’t get any easier.
‘If you asked me if the experience of three years racing at Le Mans makes it easier I would say no way,’ Lucas explained. ‘This was the hardest. It is difficult to keep the pace when the conditions are wet, then dry, then wet, then dry, and the whole race has been like that.
Talk of the paddock
‘The competition is closer than ever before this year but we knew we had a strong line-up. To be fighting for a podium finish after qualifying in 12th place is amazing. During the Test Day I had to concentrate on getting my confidence back in the LM P2 car as I have been racing in GT3 so far this year. I have spent hours going over data with my engineer, really doing my homework and I think it paid off today.’
Jann Mardenborough has been the talk of the paddock during the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours. He started the race and finished the race and put in some astonishingly fast times during triple stints in the night. It is a measure of Jann’s determination that he has just finished his first Le Mans and he is cross that he has missed out on a podium finish.
‘To be honest I’m disappointed,’ said Mardenborough, after taking the chequered flag. ‘I wanted that podium and we pushed so hard for it but it wasn’t to be. The last stint was tricky as I had to keep telling myself not to push on the wet tyres. I really enjoyed racing here though. When you are on this track, on your own, with new tyres and low-ish fuel, it’s incredible.’
Driver of the No.26 G-Drive Racing car, Roman Rusinov, was a little disappointed with his podium finish as he felt the class victory was within reach today.
‘We lost three laps in the night as we had to fix the number panel on the car,’ explained Rusinov. ‘Then we finished just over a lap behind the winner. We were very fast but that’s racing. We are very competitive this year and we wanted to win but after such a tough race today we had a real feeling of “we made it!” when we were up on the podium after the race.’
Any good news was tempered by the loss of Allan Simonsen, which hit everyone hard at La Sarthe. The 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours produced some incredible on-track battles but it will always be remembered as the race that had a sting in its tail.
Darren Cox, Nissan’s director of global motorsport, said: ‘The first thoughts of everyone at Nissan are of course with the family of Allan Simonsen and Aston Martin Racing, which puts everything into perspective.’
On the performance of Nissan at Le Mans he added: ‘We have once again proved that the GT Academy selection and training procedures work and off track Nissan has brought innovation and excitement to Le Mans by putting the #fansfirst, creating the Nismo FanZone and broadcasting 25 hours of live television via Nismo.TV.’