Team Modena secured its third finish in the Le Mans 24 Hours but was left to wonder how high it could have figured in the results had it not been for a costly gearbox issue during the night.

Terry Borcheller, Christian Fittipaldi and Jos Menten had run as high as 22nd overall heading into the night at the French classic before a gearbox issue forced the car into the pits so the 'box could be completely stripped down and rebuilt.

It meant a loss of two hours, and some 30 laps, to its GT1 rivals and ensured the team had to settle for eighth place in class when the race due to close, four laps behind the Larbre Saleen - which was also delayed after a problem in the early stages.

"It's fantastic to have come to Le Mans three times with this car and to have finished very time," sporting director Rik Bryan said. "Once again we were unlucky with the gearbox, we need to investigate in the next few days and find out what went wrong, and without that we could have been fourth in class. Le Mans is always ups and downs, without the problems we could have finished higher.

"The spirit of the team shone through in the early hours of the morning when they had to rebuild the internals of the gearbox. I'd also like to take the opportunity to congratulate team regular Antonio Garcia - who won in the factory Aston Martin."

Menten had the honour of bringing the car across the line at the end of the 24-Hours, the car completing 302 laps despite its time lost in the pits overnight.

"It was a new experience for me at the end bringing the car across the line," the Dutchman said, "totally different from other 24-hour races. The track started wet in my final stint but a dry line was soon there so it was okay.

"You can have mechanical issues in racing, it can be sometimes the drivers fault, sometimes the car, a million things can go wrong but the guys did a good job and we are happy."

 

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