Le Mans 2010 - 11.07.2010
Roger's first experience of the legendary La Sarthe Circuit came at the 2010 edition of the bi-annual Le Mans Classic organised by Patrick Peter's operation.
Competing in grid 3 and sharing with Joe Twyman in the ex Graham Hill Lotus 15 the duo qualified for race 1 on the 2nd row of the grid behind Gregor Fisken in the Leventis Ferrari Dino and Frank Stippler in the unique streamlined Maserati Birdcage.
Race 1 which started at 4pm was a fiercely hot contest with very little seperating the top 3. It was Wills/Twyman who ended up on the top step taking the win and overall aggregate lead of the grid.
Starting from pole for race 2 which started in the early hours Roger lead the way with DTM ace and Audi works driver Stippler using local knowledge to ease his way past just before handing over to Joe. Expecting the Stippler car to be handed over to the slower owner of the car it potentially could have been two out of two. However with the owner not confident in the dark, Joe was unable to challenge Stippler so the pair finished 2nd overall in front of the McIntyre brothers in their similar Lotus 15.
After round 2 the lead on aggregate was over a minute so for the third round a conservative drive would ensure the overall win.
Luck however wasn't on Roger and Joe's side. When Roger pitted from a comfortable 2nd place behind Stippler the car was blocked into the pit by a competitor in a neighbouring garage. This pretty much absorbed the whole advantage on aggregate that the pair had over Stippler/Balz. Despite a real push from Joe at the end and taking 2nd place overall on the line from the McIntyre brothers the difference at the finish meant that the pair finished 4seconds behind Stippler (who had driven the 3rd race solo again).
A fantastic achievement but at the same time rather deflating given the circumstances.
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