Aston Martin DBR9: The comeback king

After four decades in the sporting doldrums, Aston Martin revived its Le Mans ambitions with the DBR9, and it didn’t disappoint, winning at La Sarthe in 2007. We sent Sam Hancock and photographer Lyndon McNeil to see how it’s aged in the June 2019 issue of Motor Sport

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Keith Light

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Five seconds: a penalty that neutered the Canadian Grand Prix, sent Sebastian Vettel into apoplexy and set off a wave of nostalgia. With Lewis Hamilton all but guaranteed victory without the awkward business of overtaking, race fans broke from watching the procession to flood social media with memories of a time when racing was racing, when René Arnoux took on Gilles Villeneuve in Dijon.

The final laps of the 1979 French Grand Prix are part of F1’s folklore, of a golden moment that is meant to have been lost to delta times, stewards’ inquiries and reckless manoeuvres.
The battle began with the unnervingly familiar scenario of second-placed Villeneuve nursing his rapidly wearing brakes and tyres. Behind him Arnoux was catching quickly, looking to secure a Renault 1-2 behind his team-mate and race leader, Jean-Pierre Jabouille.
Villeneuve had other ideas.
The two little ‘whizz-kids’ in second and third places were grinning all over their faces
“With 10 laps to go there now started a memorable battle for second place, so fierce and competitive that the leader of the race was totally overlooked,” wrote Denis Jenkinson for Motor Sport.

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