Glickenhaus’ Romain Dumas says he wasn’t aware he was briefly leading the Six Hours of Monza before the team called him in to have his brakes replaced.
Dumas was driving the #709 Glickenhaus 007 LMH in the fifth hour of the race and was running in second place after an Alpine pitstop.
The Frenchman then moved into the lead of the race when the #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid, which was leading in the hands of Kamui Kobayashi, came to a halt on track with what Toyota described as a ‘control unit glitch’.
With Kobayashi stationary and losing roughly a minute on track, it allowed Dumas to capture the lead of the race, marking the first time Glickenhaus had led an FIA WEC round.
Speaking to MotorsportWeek.com after the race, Dumas revealed that he was completely unaware of his position and did not know he had taken the race lead.
“I didn’t know anything,” Dumas said. “Actually, I didn’t even know that I was in front of the Alpine.”
“Because when I left the pits, I was thinking the Alpine was ahead. But actually, I was driving all my laps in 37 low.”
“I was thinking ‘where are they? I cannot go a lot faster. And nobody is doing this lap time, so how can you gain so much time?’ And actually was on my back, so this I didn’t know. So that was good.”
Dumas says that he has mixed feelings about the #709 car’s performance at Monza, saying he enjoyed it a lot and that it proved the car’s competitiveness but that he felt that more could have been achieved.
“I think, you know one side for sure a little bit frustrated because when I was driving suddenly we realized we could do something even more than we expected.”
“But on the other side, we prove that with what Toyota want to show, again, we’re competitive. The stints were very good. I enjoyed a lot. I was pushing a lot, had lot of fun. I really had a lot of fun. It was long time that I didn’t have it like that. I mean, in USA with CORE [Autosport], it was also a lot of time nice.”
“So yeah, it was great to push and to give everything and certainly because I didn’t know where I was actually. I didn’t know if I was first, second, third I was just driving on my own and doing my best.”
Unfortunately for Dumas, his time out in front at Monza was very brief, as he himself was wheeled into the garage a lap later. The front brakes on the 007 LMH had to be replaced, meaning the team ultimately had to settle for third in class behind Toyota and Alpine.
Dumas says the brake replacement wasn’t planned, although he admits that the team has been struggling with front brake wear since the car’s development stage.
“We have an issue there. We have to understand. I mean, it’s from day one. And from day one, we don’t understand why.”
“You cannot compare a big manufacturer and what we are doing here, even if it’s still impressive. It was again a six hour race you know, so it’s not a two hour 45 [minutes], it’s not a 24 hour, but it’s not also a short one and to the speed we are giving we were pushing on a limit also.”
Despite the late brake change, the American privateer came home third in class, securing a podium finish in just its second ever race in the World Endurance Championship, which Dumas says gives the team enough reason to be proud.
“We don’t have to be disappointed,” he concluded. “At the end of the day, I think we deserved to finish second, even if some are dreaming, I think our place was more or less this one.
“So that’s it, next. And I think everybody needs to be proud about what we’ve done and because you know, it’s a really small team compared to big manufacturers. So it’s not often you see stuff like that.”