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DEWALT Morgan steals the limelight at Le Mans test, despite engine setback

A small piece of history was made last weekend at Le Mans when the DEWALT Morgan Aero 8 took to the track in the preliminary test sessions for the 2002 24 hour race. The moment marked the return of a Morgan to Le Mans 40 years after Christopher Lawrence scored a famous class win in a Plus 4.

Saturday was spent in detailed preparation and the rigorous scrutineering process required before the officials of the ACO finally approve the car for running. The minor adjustments requested were completed by the technical team led by Christopher Lawrence and Dennis Leech, and the ACO signed the car off.

The Morgan GTN's first public appearance in France was greeted in celebrity fashion, mobbed by hundreds of cameras and well-wishers. Many Morgan fans had even made a special trip to France to see the car roll out for its test.

On Sunday, the first of two test sessions got under way at 0900, giving the car and the three drivers their first chance to familiarise with the world's most famous racing circuit. Things were progressing well until an engine failure stopped the car after about 90 minutes.

Despite the setback, Richard Stanton, team chief and lead driver, said he was satisfied with early results.

"A lot of development work has been done since the decision was taken to go to Le Mans in February, and this was our first real chance to shake down the car and the team in the environment in which they will be working in June. The Morgan car is really beginning to show what it is capable of.

"We were very keen for all three drivers - myself, Steve Hyde and Richard Hay - to get some laps in at Le Mans, and in the time we had today we showed that we can put in a competitive performance when it comes to qualifying and the race itself.

"Doing well at Le Mans is above all a team effort, and the team spirit is superb. By the time of the race, I think we will have the makings of a very credible effort."

But Richard was also keen to point out the DEWALT Morgan team is looking forward to a two-year campaign at Le Mans.

"We plan to run this year, learn, and come back next year for a really good try," he concluded.

Published 9 May 2002 Melanie Carter

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