Oliver Gavin has hit out at countryman Anthony Davidson for the manoeuvre that put the GT2 class-leading Corvette Racing ZR1 in the barriers on Sunday morning in the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours – and ultimately led to the car's retirement with a blown engine not long after.
Along with team-mates Gavin and Olivier Beretta, Emmanuel Collard was comfortably in charge in GT2 aboard the #64 'Vette when the charging Davidson came up behind to lap him. As the Briton – on quite a mission following the earlier delay suffered by the #1 machine – went to pass, he appeared to edge the Frenchman wide, and the result was that the car that for the second year in succession had looked all-set for GT2 glory at La Sarthe ended up spinning into the barriers and receiving a fair degree of damage.
Having been repaired, the 'Vette rejoined the track in the hands of Gavin, but the 37-year-old did not get far, and with smoke beginning to pour out from the side of the car as he negotiated one of the chicanes along the Mulsanne straight – a direct legacy of the earlier Peugeot hit – the former British F3 Champion had no option but to pull aside and reluctantly accept defeat.
“They put us in the wall in the Porsche Curves,” he angrily told Crash.net
after the retirement, “and there was a massive job to try and get the car fixed. The guys did an amazing job, but during that period the engine had got starved a little bit of oil, which did some damage to one of the valves. I came out of the second chicane along Mulsanne and I could tell it wasn't firing on all cylinders properly – and then it just went bang.
“It doesn't get much more disappointing than that. Last year we got to within two hours of the finish in the lead with everything going great, and this year it was all going well again and then the Peugeot did what it did and just stuffed us off.
“They know they shouldn't pass us in that corner, but still they go and do it because the pressure is so massive. Everybody has got to live on this circuit together and exist together, so it's frustrating when that sort of thing happens. We are racing and they are racing – and we have to stay on the circuit together.”