ALMS and ACO: 'A Strong Marriage'

ALMS and Le Mans organisers have admitted that, although slightly strained by the dispute over Maserati at Sebring, their relationship is as strong as ever

ALMS and ACO: 'A Strong Marriage'

The ACO, organisers of the historic French race, boycotted the ALMS series opener at Sebring in protest over the decision to allow Maserati to race despite the car not conforming to ACO regulations, to which the series is run.

ALMS boss Scott Atherton acknowledged the decision, but noted: "It's a lover's tiff rather than grounds for a divorce. I know where the relationship stands, and because of that I am not losing any sleep over what other people think. We have a strong marriage.”

Jean-Claude Plassart, head of the ACO, commented: "We have been friends with [ALMS founder] Don Panoz and Scott Atherton for a long time, and we will not become unfriendly because of this.

"ALMS is free to do what they want, but if I was Scott I would not have accepted the Maserati.”

The Maserati team was invited to race by Atherton, a decision which angered many of the competing teams, most notably Aston Martin. David Richards, head of Prodrive and responsible for the Aston Martin programme, appealed the decision ahead of the race, but his appeal was denied.

Richards was unrepentant after the race, stating: "I'm not against the Maserati - I'm against the decision to let it run, which sets a dangerous precedent. If other manufacturers come, as they inevitably will, they need to understand that they can't use strong arm tactics to race a car that doesn't conform [to the regulations].”

His anger was somewhat muted by the results: Aston Martin claimed GT1 honours, with Maserati 22 laps behind to finish fifth in the class.

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Author David Cameron
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