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Corvette should have taken 'fewer risks', says Davidson

Whilst reflecting that he is 'sorry' if he inadvertently brought an end to the #64 Corvette's race in the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours last weekend, Peugeot star Anthony Davidson maintains the whole incident could have been avoided had only Emmanuel Collard given him 'more room'
Anthony Davidson has conceded that 'in the heat-of-the-moment' during last weekend's Le Mans 24 Hours, he 'might have said some things that might get taken out-of-context' regarding the contentious incident between the #1 Peugeot and #64 Corvette on Sunday morning – but he remains adamant he did nothing wrong.

As Davidson – setting some searing lap times as he and team-mates Alex Wurz and Marc Gené endeavoured to fight their way back into contention following an earlier delay – came up to lap the GT2 class-leading 'Vette driven by Emmanuel Collard in the Porsche Curves, the pair appeared to touch and the Frenchman ended up spinning into the barriers.

Following a lengthy repair job, the yellow machine rejoined the fray in the hands of Oliver Gavin only to pull off with an engine failure – caused by the engine finding itself starved of oil whilst the car was off-the-road, damaging one of the valves – shortly afterwards.

Opinion remains divided as to whether or not there was contact – and as to whose fault the contretemps was [see separate story – click here] – but without wishing to point the finger, ex-F1 star Davidson argues that with the Peugeot having everything to gain and the Corvette everything to lose, Collard could perhaps have given him 'more room'.

“I'm sure we'll beg to differ for the rest of our lives on that one,” the 31-year-old told Crash.net Radio at La Sarthe, “but as far as I was concerned I was just racing. I'd pulled that move on many, many cars throughout the race and I wasn't even aware that there was a problem when I overtook him – I just thought, 'great, I've got another car in the Porsche Curves'. I must have overtaken 50 cars through there with exactly the same manoeuvre, and there was no contact, nothing to even suggest that there would have been a problem.

“I'm sure people were tired and mistakes happen, and in the heat-of-the-moment I might have been a bit upset and said some things that might get taken out-of-context because I was accused of ending someone's race. Am I sorry that their race ended there? Of course I am – I don't want to end anyone's race or be a part of that reason – but this is racing and it's a legitimate place to overtake.

“When you're being lapped, you look at the blue flags, you look in the mirrors and you compensate – you give room to faster cars. I did when I was in GT1 round here, and it was a scary experience going through the Porsche Curves with prototypes buzzing all around you. Yeah, I hated it and yeah, I wanted to hold them up and you've got almost a bit of a chip on your shoulder that you're out there giving it your all as well.

“I'm still relatively new to Le Mans – it's only my third one – but I've done it in both GT and LMP so I can see it from both sides, and when you've got the luxury of leading by the margin that they had, which I didn't know at the time obviously, then you have to take fewer risks and give people more room out there.

“I'm not saying it was his fault – of course I'm not – but it is racing and I'm sure everyone will learn from it. If you look at the Highway Code as well in the UK, then you'll see that without contact you're scot-free, so I'm sorry about that but it was just one of those things.”

by Russell Atkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
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TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL PEUGEOT 908, Alexander WURZ(AUT) Marc GENE (ESP) Anthony Davidson(GBR)
Alex Wurz (Aut) Anthony Davidson (GBR) Marc Gene (ESP) #1 Team Peugeot Total, Peugeot 908 HDi FAP  24 Heures Du Mans Le Mans 24 Hour Le Mans France
Anthony Davidson (GBR)
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Old Man - Unregistered

June 17, 2010 4:05 PM

Whilst I appreciate that Anthony Davidson was doing a fantastic job it must be remembered that the Corvette was being driven by one of the most experienced and widely respected drivers in the race. Manu Collard has lapped and been lapped round Le Mans more times than Anthony has had hot dinners and for him to say "he should have given me more room" shows his inexperience. The rule in mixed class sportscar racing is that it is up to the overtaking driver to find a way past and that the slower car should stick to the racing line, I am sure that is what Collard did. Collard saw his line encroached by Davidson and either adjusted it or took both off, it is not up slower cars to give way.

Just Observing - Unregistered

June 18, 2010 1:21 AM

Totally agree Old Man... Davidson was simply over-driving for most of that stint and that was proven by his off coming into pit lane... that is simply inexcusable... all the experienced driver know (and if you watched various in-car's during the race, proved) the Porsche Curves are NOT a place to overtake ANYONE let alone try to lap a GT2 car... Listening to the Speed coverage they reported that Davidson had contact with 2 other cars while lapping as well

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