SUNDAY 3 JULY 2011
TEAM DROPS ITS WORST ROUND AFTER PAUL RICARD RULING
Who would not want to race at Imola? It's history is totally amazing and all the Le Mans Series drivers came to the famous Italian circuit wide-eyed and keen to impress.

Would they work hard to learn a new circuit? Absolutely!

And that is just what happened at the Six Hours of Imola, a ILMC round and third event of the 2011 Le Mans Series.

Prior to Imola, Allan had been, well lets say, a touch busy.

After the Spa Le Mans Series round in early May, Allan was at Snetterton doing British GT the next weekend.

Then it was on a plane for a day and a half to Australia to drive a GT race in a Lamborghini.

Back to Europe directly to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is a week long event in itself. After that exhausting event its back to the UK for another difficult BGT round, where the aging Ferrari 430 Scuderia just can't compete with current machinery.

Then to Nürburgring for the 24 hour race, where he started from pole and finally here, to Imola.

It may seem like a very heavy workload but its never to much for Allan – every race driver wants to race weekend after weekend and that is exactly what our Danish hero achieves. And loves it!
Imola had not previously been on the LMS championship and Allan had only been there once before, in 1998, to race a round of the European Karting Championship. But alas, the race never took place, after all the drivers voted together to not race when they discovered the track had been constructed in the pits and had a bundle of tyres thrown here and there for good measure. Hardly the professional nature that a championship should enjoy, for those whole aspire to Formula One. And especially at Imola, with all that history, both wonderful and heart-wrenching.

Why was the track merely a section of painted green concrete, rather that a grassy off track section that television portrays? Did the fine Brazilian even stand a chance? It shall ever be a mystery, except for those that had the real telemetry data, it seems.

Fast forward eleven years and there was Allan, together with Dominik Farnbacher, walking the track. It was going to be a tough race. The track was tight, with limited passing opportunities, especially when the prototypes had such big speed differentials to the GTE/GTA cars. Yes, this was going to an challenging race weekend. Again!

Naturally, Team Hankook Farnbacher was looking for the win at Imola, after a 3rd at Paul Ricard and a 2nd at Spa but put them in GTE title contention.

The first practice session was designated to try a new batch of Hankook rubbber, but it was constantly being red flagged as cars going flew off the circuit, everywhere. By session close, only half their important testing had been completed.

P2 was rained out and the final session, P3, only offered 30 minutes of dry running – just enough to test the tyres for a typical race stint.

Toady, Dom was on qualifying duties, setting 8th fastest, in GTE. But by now, the poor weather had cleared making the track temperature soar north of 50C – not ideal for the Hankook Team.

Consequently the race start was a difficult one, with Dom dropping back from the lead GTE pack and into P11. He held position until Allan jumped in.

Immediately he could see how hard Dom had been struggling, the car having little grip on the high temperature surface.

Pushing hard, Allan came upon the JOTA Aston Martin at Rivazza, but directly behind was the lead works BMW GTE that was desperate to lap both Allan in his Ferrari and the Aston Martin, before the tight Variante Bassa chicane.

The BMW made the move past the Ferrari and onto the tail of the Aston.

Allan siezed the opportunity to follow the BMW, using its track advantage to dispose of the JOTA car.

But it did not work out perfectly, with the Ferrari disturbing the rear corner of the AM, sending it off track and damaging the Ferrari's radiator in the process.

It was a genuine racing incident, but one Allan felt perhaps he should have avoided. A rare mistake indeed!

The rest of the race was used to complete the tyre test, gaining valuable information that will be helpful for LMS-4 at Silverstone. Following the start line debacle at Paul Ricard, the ACO deemed a team could drop their worst round of the season, so this DNF would prove less costly than it may have been.

At race end, Allan went to see the team at JOTA and offered a full apology for his error, which was received with a warm spirit indeed. A rare thing in racing these days.

Next weekend, British GT at Spa, in the lovely Ardennes.