WEDNESDAY 17 JUNE 2009
DEBRIS RUINS A FINE GT2 CHALLENGE AT 24 HOURS OF LE MANS
What started out as a very strong and promising attempt to capture the GT2 title at this years 24 Hours of Le Mans came to a premature end at 4am Sunday morning. Carbon fibre debris from other race cars entered the front radiator, sending the engine temperature soaring, damaging the Ferraris V8 engine.

For 2009, Allan was teamed with Dominik Farnbacher and Christian Montinari - both very quick drivers indeed. Montinari had helped Allan take the podium at Barcelona early this year, whilst Farnbacher had done many events with the Dane.
The 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans was a massive branding effort by the South East Asian Hankook Tyre Company and with over 150 guests and team members in attendance, it was vital to capitalise on the investment.

Hankook engineers had been hard at work throughout the season and had improved both the durability and driveability of the racing tyre – essential to take on the establishment suppliers like Michelin and Dunlop.

For a Danish driver, Le Mans is the pinnicle of their season. With Tom Kristensen having paved the way with eight outright victories, mostly with Audi, the Danish public arrived in their droves.

Friday morning was a traditional opportunity for the drivers to meet their fans at the Dansih campsites. And with over 40,000 of them, who had driven over a 1000km in all forms of transport, it was a real highlight. Allan spent over 4 hours making time to talk about events he had done and signing countless autographs.
Pitstop practice is vital with an estimated
27 stops during the event!

The afternoon is just as exciting with the Parade du Pilote, through the old streets of Le Mans. With over 160,000 people cheering the drivers on its a very exciting and memorable time for drivers and their fans. Not content to simply wave and throw hero cards to the fans, Dominik, Christian and Allan would regularly get out of the vintage parade car to shake hands and sign more autographs.

The ACO (organising club of the event) had decided earlier in the year that due to the economic slowdown engulfing the globe, that the official practice day would be scrapped and replaced with a single 6 hour free practice on the Wednesday prior to the event.

However the weather would not play into their hands at all.
The track became wet and then dry again, see-sawing several times. Each time it was really not wet enough to get the full wet setup correct or not dry enough for the reverse. The only real benefit was the chance to try the new Hankook full wet tyre in torrential conditions. All three drivers having significant Le Mans experience so it was then a matter of each doing the minimum required number of laps to be considered a starter.

Thursday was qualifying day. Two 2 hour sessions. Not four as had been every other year.

But as the session started it was clear the car had a problem - excessive understeer made it very difficult to drive and it took significant time to dial out the trouble. As the clock ticked closer to 9pm, the end of the first 2 hour session, the car became better to drive.

Quickly a set of softs were bolted on and the Ferarri 430 GT2 reacted well, with Allan at the helm, sending the German/Asian team to the top of the GT2 time sheet.

Still they held the best time but other teams were now starting to improve. Allan went to super softs but they didn't perform as he'd expected them to, aborting the fast lap for further setup changes before the final qualifying at 10pm, in the cooler dark air.

Simonsen hit the track hard at 10pm but found himself baulked by 2 slower cars on 2 occasions, where clearly he could have improved the time. Now it was up the Christian and Dominik to get some seat time. Everyone was hotting up the pace and as the session closed the 430 had slipped to 10th place. Such was the heat of the final 30 minutes!

A very solid driver line up, each with Le Mans experinence, clearly showed that they could run at the front.
Start drivers were to be nominated early on Saturday morning and Allan was given the honour of doing so. He made a super start moving up four positions in class before the end of his stint. As the first safety car was deployed, he was directly behind the lead group, headed by Risi Competitione. This allowed Dominik to a prefect start to his double run. And a sensational job he did – by hour 2.5 the trio were leading GT2!

For Allan, there was indeed some déja vu – he'd also led GT2 in the inaugural visit to the track, in 2007, with Autorlando-Sport, ableit in a Porsche 997RSR.

For here on however, luck was not on their side – three blow-outs on their left rear tyres ruined the run. They had been trying to double stint the tyres but a combination of wear and track debris caused chaos.

Adding to the drama was an eventful fight with a slower prototype and one that would finally send Dominik off at the Porsche curves. Some damage to the floor of the car delayed the team for the next few hours during the night.

It was then, with Christian at the wheel, did the final death knell arrive in the form of carbon fibre through the coolings system. The dream was all over, and the sun peeped through for the run to the finish.
Allan was never the less positive: "Le Mans is always the highlight of my season and its hard to explain just how much it means to a driver."

"In some ways it feels more like my home that to do races in Denmark. Hankook did a brilliant job and my two co-drivers performed very well. We all got along well together and in reflection what happened is no ones blame. It's just how the cards were dealt and this is the essence of 24 Hour racing."