MOTOR RACING: Le Mans agony for Latif
MARLBOROUGH College student Alessandro Latif saw his dream of racing in the world-famous Le Mans 24-Hour race ended before he even got on to the track at the weekend.
The 18 year old was as set to take part in the world famous 24-hour endurance race in France, only for the car he was co-driving to be involved in a crash before Latif himself was able to get behind the wheel.
The A-level student, who sat exams in Paris earlier in the week and was the second youngest driver in the 82nd running of the twice-around-the-clock endurance sportscar race, had been set for what promised to be a good Le Mans debut.
Despite clocking up a mere 45-laps around the demanding, high-speed 8.47-mile Le Mans circuit in testing, practice and qualifying, Latif was feeling confident in the Greaves Motorsport Zytek he shared with Michaël Munemman and James Winslow.
The Latif/Munemman/Winslow Zytek started the race 26th on the 54-car grid – an unrepresentative 17th place in the ultra-competitive LM P2 field on Saturday afternoon.
Winslow brought the Zytek inside the top 10 with two hours on the clock and Munemman continued the fine start. However, 30 minutes later he was an innocent victim when another car made contact with the Briton.
Munemman was hit by another car on the treacherously slippery track after a heavy rain shower.
Munemman did well to get the car back to the pits but it was found to be too badly damaged for it to continue, much to the disappointment of Latif.
“I’m obviously gutted that I didn’t actually get to drive in the race itself but the experience will be of use when I return in the future – hopefully next year,” Latif said.
“Despite having to commute between Paris and Le Mans over three days last week to take some A-level exams, that hadn’t affected my preparations or indeed restricted my on-track time in practice and qualifying prior to the weekend.
“Unfortunately my seat time was constrained on Wednesday and Thursday due to many on-track incidents but I nevertheless felt that a good result was achievable.
“Greaves Motorsport did a good job in providing us with a competitive racecar. The experience has only made me more determined to climb the racing ladder and hopefully secure a factory drive one day with a team like Audi.”
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