Sam Hancock was left gutted by a late retirement from the Le Mans 24 Hours as Aston Martin Racing missed out on securing top petrol honours for the second straight year.
The #009 Lola-Aston Martin had enjoyed a trouble-free run in the hands of Hancock, Darren Turner and Juan Barazi despite the big race marking the first time that the trio had competed together.
However, approaching the end of his final stint and with a top four place all but secured, Hancock suffered an engine problem that forced him to park the car at Arnage and retire from the race.
"Obviously it's gutting to come so close to the best result of my Le Mans career and have it snatched away at the death,” he said. “The car had been fantastic up to that point and we were able to lap very consistently throughout the race. But I'm not going to dwell on it too much. The whole team has worked fantastically well this week so it's as much of a shame for them as me. I'd like to thank my team mates, the 009 crew and everyone at Aston Martin Racing for welcoming me into the team. Despite the result, it's been a huge privilege to drive for them this week and an opportunity I will cherish. I'll have another crack in the LMP1 car at Silverstone later this year so at least there's a chance to make up for this disappointment.
"Although we never had a realistic chance of beating the diesels in a straight fight, just like last season our reliability initially allowed us to profit from their demise. We were on target to equal Aston Martin Racing's result from 2009 and winning the petrol class again would have been a great achievement. But it wasn't to be this time round."
The #007 car finished sixth overall – and fifth in LMP1 – having suffered a gearbox bearing failure and a late puncture, although the #008 car entered by the Signature Plus team crashed out with Vanina Ickx at the wheel on Sunday morning.
"All in all this weekend was a success,” Aston Martin chairman David Richards said. “We set out to prove that we were the fastest petrol entry here and whilst the result wasn't quite what we were looking for, we certainly proved the performance of the Aston Martins.”