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Salo 'disappointed' to miss race

Having been denied the opportunity to successfully defend his Le Mans 24 Hours GT2 class laurels following team-mate Matias Russo's hefty qualifying accident in 2010, AF Corse star Mika Salo vows to return
Mika Salo has conceded that he is naturally 'disappointed' to be missing out on the chance to successfully defend his GT2 class laurels in the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend – but he admits that the most important thing following the Wednesday night qualifying accident that ruled the AF Corse #96 entry out of the running is that Matias Russo escaped thankfully unscathed.

Russo lost the Ferrari 430GTC in the Porsche Curves, and the damage was so great as to render it out-of-action for the remainder of the weekend. Salo acknowledged that the car 'wasn't good' when it returned to the pit garage – “We were waiting until 1:30am when we got it back, and immediately we realised it wasn't fixable,” he revealed – and as such, he is consigned to spending the remainder of the event sat frustrated on the sidelines.

“Of course I'm disappointed, but the main thing after what happened to Matias is that he's okay,” the Finn told Crash.net at La Sarthe. “He didn't injure himself so seriously that it will still affect him in a couple of days. He didn't remember anything about the accident; he came back from hospital and he was still a bit confused about the whole thing.

“We showed him a video and he said 'oh, okay, now I know'. He just clipped a kerb and lost it, basically; he was pushing hard as it was a qualifying run and he was going for a quick lap time and just made a mistake.”

Confessing to being 'not a good spectator', Salo hinted that he would likely not stick around for the duration of the race, but made a point of wishing the sister car – piloted by fellow ex-grand prix aces Jean Alesi and Giancarlo Fisichella, alongside countryman Toni Vilander – good luck, opining that 'they have a good chance'. And as to returning for a fifth bite at the Le Mans cherry in 2011, the 43-year-old reflected that given 'a competitive team and car, I'll be back'.
by Russell Atkins



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