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Le Mans 24 Hours of Le Mans

Iron Dames admit missing Le Mans GTE Am podium “painful”

The all-female Iron Dames crew that fought for class victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours has expressed its disappointment at missing a place on the GTE Am podium.

#85 Iron Dames Porsche 911 RSR - 19 of Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting, Rahel Frey

Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and Sarah Bovy took their Porsche 911 RSR-19 to fourth place in what was the final race at the Circuit de la Sarthe for GTE machinery, missing out on the final podium spot to the GR Racing Porsche squad.

That was despite the pink-liveried #85 car featuring in the thick of the lead battle for much of the race, as the field was thinned out by multiple incidents in changing conditions.

As late as the end of the 20th hour the Iron Dames car still led, but the superior pace of the Corvette Racing and ORT by TF Aston Martin crews - both recovering from earlier dramas - told.

Frey, Gatting and Bovy still looked a strong bet for a podium until a brake change in the final hour demoted them to fourth behind the GR Porsche of Riccardo Pera, Ben Barker and Michael Wainwright.

“Obviously we are super disappointed,” said Bovy. “Finishing so close to the podium after fighting for the lead for so long is painful.

“The team did a tremendous job. At the end we were fourth and it is the best result we have done so far at Le Mans.”

Gatting added: “After being in the top two for so many hours, a brake change took us away from the podium in the end, although safety comes before anything else. I am proud of our team.”

 

 

Iron Dames project leader Deborah Mayer was keen to pay tribute to her drivers for the performance they displayed throughout a gruelling 24 hours in which just nine of the 21 starters in the GTE Am category saw the chequered flag.

“This fourth position signifies a significant progression in Iron Dames results at Le Mans but has [left us with] a feeling of incompleteness,” said Mayer. “Thank you so much to everyone in the team for their incredible hard work and never-give-up attitude. 

“We are pleased to fly the flag for women in motorsport and inspiring others to do the same.”

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The #63 ORECA was delayed on the first lap by debris getting in the air intake, and Pin completed one double stint before the car’s race was ended by a night-time crash for Kvyat.

“Of course, I'm extremely disappointed that the race ended so early for the three of us,” said Pin. “All the team worked very hard to get ready and after not an easy start, we had begun a strong comeback. 

“But that's part of the sport, and we'll come back stronger for the next one in Monza in a month. I'm more determined than ever and will give my all to get the opportunity to come back here next year. This is just the beginning of my story with Le Mans.”

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