Johnny Herbert Q&A

Johnny Herbert's return to Le Mans ended in disappointment when the Champion Audi retired on Saturday evening, soon after third driver Didier Theys had taken the wheel. After an early excursion by Ralf Kelleners, Johnny did a great job to get the car into third, and was lapping faster than the leading works cars when the track was at its wettest. Despite the early retirement he enjoyed the weekend, and he will be back in the car at Road Atlanta's Petit Le Mans. Adam Cooper spoke to him as he dried out

Johnny Herbert Q&A



"It's been a good experience in one respect, because you get back into it. For us it stared a bit badly when Ralf spun on the out lap, so he had to change the nose. Then he spun again early in the race and had to change the back. So we were 29th or something at that point! He got it back to sixth, and when I got in, it started going well. But it was absolutely chucking it down, and it was really treacherous. But the car was working very well, and the times we were doing were great."



"I think I was about five minutes behind the number two works car, and I got within two minutes, so I gained three minutes in my stint, which was good going. So it was going very well, and it was just a shame that on the changeover to Didier it failed with probably a clutch failure or something like that. If it goes it's normally because it's got too hot and burned itself out. You've got to be very careful when you change gear, but that's more the gearbox than the clutch. If your revs are wrong, and you shift early, it gives it a massive bang."



"I was chasing the leaders, but I just had to do my own race, because we were a long way back. At that point we were just trying to get ourselves back into a position where possibly late on we could do something. It was going that way, but unfortunately it didn't go any further. But at the end of the day it was difficult out there. It was so damn wet, you were just aquaplaning everywhere."



"You could never get in to any real rhythm, because it was changing all the time. One minute it would be wet down that end, and then it would be wet down this end. It was very hard to really work out where it was. At Le Mans you've got trucks running on both sides of the road, so you've got the ruts from the wheels. So I was trying to run in the middle. But even then you could sometimes catch the edge of one of those and you'd get a bit of a moment on. And when you were following other cars you couldn't see a damn thing."



"It was good from that point of view, but it was so difficult to see where you were going. The only way to explain it is if you follow two trucks down a motorway when it's raining hard, it's nothing like that. It's 20 times worse! I had to put my foot on the footrest, lift myself up, and actually look for where the white line was in front of the car. That's the only way I could see where I was going."



"Yeah, there's one race I'll be doing, Road Atlanta. That was always part of this deal. It will be good to do something out there as well, and the car is nice to drive."



"It's with Sigma, who run Oriol Servia. The test should be after Chicago. It's a 'photo day,' so it's not really a proper test, and it's at Puttnam Park. Then hopefully later on there will be an oval chance."



"Maybe, but I don't know. I'm still in contact with other teams, so it's just a case of keeping around. I'll be at Portland next weekend, so we'll see."

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