Gunnar’s tough “break”
Gunnar’s tough “break”
Former ALMS PC class champion Gunnar Jeannette is back on track this weekend – not at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, but at the Red Bull Ring in the European Le Mans Series.
Jeannette and teammate Frankie Montecalvo are contesting the ELMS with Ferrari team Ram Racing this year. However, while he is just as fast in the car, Jeannette is a little slower out of the car this weekend thanks to a sky diving accident in early June.
“On June 2, after getting back from a test with our team over in Italy, I went skydiving with a couple of friends and unfortunately suffered a malfunction on my main parachute, which caused a malfunction with my reserve parachute as well,” Jeannette said.
“As a result, I landed harder than normal and broke my left tibia in the process. I’ve been recovering since. Thanks to a team of excellent doctors that are part of the US Olympic Ski & Snowboard team, I’ve been put back together & have been on an aggressive rehab schedule. Due to their skill I’m fit enough & have been cleared to drive in Austria. To say that I’m looking forward to getting back in the car is an understatement. It’s what has gotten me through these difficult last few weeks.
“Part of my regular training program includes running a shifter kart that I drive often at Miller Motorsports Park. It is a great karting facility and that was my personal litmus test to see if I was up to the challenge of racing or not. I went out a couple of days ago and got into the shifter kart and drove for quite a while. I was pretty close to my normal lap time even though I wasn’t able to press the brake pedal as hard as I ordinarily would with my left foot. So, I’ll be going back to my roots in the race car and using my right foot for braking. Luckily with the GTE Ferrari, we’ve got a great paddle shift system, so my left leg is going to be pretty inactive.”
Jeannette and Montecalvo already have two podiums to their credit in the opening two races. For today’s 3 Hours of Red Bull Ring, Jeannette qualified fourth fastest but will start sixth. Also pushing the limits, Jeannette was penalized for “exceeding track limits” and lost his three fastest laps from qualifying.