Le Mans: Pirelli wins with Panoz after the BMS' Aston Martin K.O.

Le Mans (F), 18th June 2006 - It's the longest and most challenging race by far and just for this it has become a legend in motor racing. This year too the "Le Mans 24 Hours" has confirmed its extreme harshness, since almost half of the qualified cars have had to pull out. Pirelli Competizioni, participating to the 74th edition of the French marathon with many competitors among Granturismo (LMGT1 and LMGT2) and some among prototypes (LMP2), has seen the LNT British team Panoz Esperante prevailing in the LMGT2 category, leading - as it happened at the "Sebring 12 Hours" last March - the Ferrari 430 GTC, favourite in its category though being slowed down by wide-ranging technical troubles.

Extremely strong and fast, the Kimber-Smith/Dean/Tomlinson's Panoz, ranking among the first fifteen positions being "just" a GT2, has allowed Pirelli to collect another important success after the hit obtained three months ago in Florida. Undisguised satisfaction for the Milanese Company, which has seen the first-rate performance of an excellent P Zero Racing tyred car: the JLOC Japanese team Lamborghini Murcilago LM-GTR has indeed reached the finish ranking 8th among the LMGT1s, showing - as explained by the leader driver, Marco Apicella, "an excellent level in terms of strength and performances even tough being here in Le Mans just to gain experience - above all in the case of the Japanese drivers who shared the Lamborghini cockpit with me".

Pirelli P Zero Racing tyred cars, the most longed for, are not included in the order of arrival: the Scuderia Italia Aston Martin DBR9, after the cracking fourth time among GT1s during qualifications, have had to retire on lap four, when skidded on an oil spot at a speed of 225 km/h. The damages suffered during the double impact against the concrete barriers compelled the team to raise the white flag just after fifteen minutes from the beginning of the race. The two Paul Belmondo Racing team Courage-Fords, conversely, already stopped yesterday evening due to an accident and various technical troubles. The first vehicle had to retire after that, passing on the remains of a previous crash, a rear tyre was damaged and suddenly blew up. The Courage then drove off spinning and smacking against the guardrail. The second one, instead, had to stop because of transmission troubles.

Pierluigi De Cancellis, Pirelli Competizioni Circuit Manager, obviously highlights the "more than excellent performances and sedulousness qualities showed, during both qualifications and the race, by the Pirelli tyres, allowing that way the Panoz umpteenth winning exploit. The immediate retire of the Scuderia Italia Aston Martin, mounting P Zero Racing tyres, has extinguished the hope to aim high in the LMGT1 category too; however the results gathered here in Le Mans are certainly valuable for the future developments of our Pirelli P Zero Racing, which will be used for the near races in Europe and in the United States".

Information and images about Pirelli races are available on the site www.pirellicompetizioni.com

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