Le Mans 24 Hours
Hours 10 - 12
gone." That concluded Intersport's race, some time after midnight.
#7 Bentley stopped at 01.15 and had its engine cover removed, but
it was a very quick inspection, then straight back into the race.
Kristensen led Brabham by half a minute, the pair of them a lap
ahead of JJ for Champion, another lap ahead of the Goh Audi.
01.40 and the
Goh Audi is rotated into its garage: this is the first real drama
for the four surviving VAG cars. Jan Lammers' Dome is four laps
behind in fifth place.
The #31 675
Courage is in bits again....
the race, having lost seven minutes. Lammers' Dome is two laps behind
- and two ahead of the #11 Panoz. Magnussen had a spin at the Ford
Chicane, and damaged the front suspension.
from Jim Matthew’s (previous hour) misfortune, the GTS leader
taking 11th place from the accident damaged Riley and Scott. Enge
is pressing on with laps into the 3:58s.
Team Corvette confirm
that the problem for the #53 car was actually the pulley that holds
on the alternator belt.
Marc Lieb has now caught and passed the Seikel Porsche and the JMB
Ferrari, the 360 having had a minor off with de Simone at the wheel.
The Orbit car is now back up to fourth before it has to stop for
a flapping front fender (bumper to those more attuned with the Queen’s
English). Lieb rejoins back in sixth in GT – déjà
Drama as the
leading Job / Petersen GT car pits with a water leak. Ironically
the radiator has ingested the protective grille fitted to protect
the component from flying stones. It’s a long stop and Maassen
rejoins the fray in fifth place in class, four laps behind the now
class leading Taisan 911. Typically he is immediately in hot pursuit,
a string of very quick laps chipping away at the advantage of the
Seikel Porsche ahead.
pits with front end damage in the PK Porsche after a 10 minute crawl
back round to the pits - after a r/front puncture.
pace has again taken him by the Seikel Porsche, this coupled with
the problems for the #83 911 and #70 JMB Ferrari have put Orbit
back up into third place in class again. By the top of the hour
Maassen is in fourth, the race is truly on again!
at Hour 10
#7 158 laps
is now heading the way of the Reynard again, with no Intersport
Lola and Nielsen's DBS stationary for a long while. Is it out? No,
a long stop for...? The closest challenger to the Reynard is....the
#24 WR, a repeat of last year?
#88 144 laps
#80 143 laps
#72 141 laps
#50 140 laps
#77 134 laps
#95 132 laps
#87 131 laps
The gaps in
the GTP / 900 class are settling down at last: #7 Bentley leads
by a lap from #8, which has a lap on Champion's R8, which is three
ahead of Goh's Audi, three more ahead of Lammers' Dome, one ahead
of the #11 Panoz, one more ahead of the #13 Courage...and so it
continues.....Pescarolo #18, Panoz #12, Pescarolo #17, and the R&S
spins the #29 Reynard at Dunlop, loses a couple of minutes, but
it doesn't seem to matter, as the #24 WR is ten laps back. The DBA
had a failure of the front floor, but has had a long repair....leaving
the #25 WR in third, but it's smoking.
The top positions
remain static, Tommy Erdos though is still making progress, 22nd
overall in the #64 Saleen 7th in GTS.
A spin for one of the
Prodrive Ferraris (#88?) at Mulsanne Corner – confirmed it
must have been #88 as #80 is stationary in the pits and being caught
for second in class by the #72 Luc Alphand 550.
But the #72
car hits trouble too and the #50 Corvette grabs third in GTS at
The class leading #77 Taisan Advan 911 pits at 01:05 and is pulled
back into the garage, possibly for the replacement of the driver's
Work is progressing
apace on the PK Sport Porsche front end reconstruction: it finally
leaves at 01:13 after a delay of at least half an hour.
Ferrari, Risi Competizione and ACEMCO take the lead in GT as the
Taisan 911 remains pit-bound. Maassen continues to duke it out with
Lieb, the AJR ace now into the 4:09s This looks the best battle
anywhere on the circuit at the moment.
The Seikel Porsche,
until now a model of reliability (in contrast to every other Porsche
runner this year), has stopped out on the circuit.
advantage of a routine Orbit pitstop to grab second place for AJR.
Mowlem pits and ‘Super Sascha’ is back into the GT lead,
with Peter Baron in the Orbit car now in second slot.
will not be a happy bunny, no sooner had the #95 Ferrari taken the
class lead than the engine self destructed, along Mulsanne –
the race swings back in Porsche’s direction. Team Owner Jeff
Giangrande: "This was my first Le Mans, and I am delighted
to have been part of this historic event. Our car was very competitive
in the hands of some fine drivers and we can take heart from our
performance this weekend."
Now its Maassen’s
turn to have problems, it’s the radiator again, same side
as last time! Collard gets aboard when the car returns to the fray
and now Lieb is aboard the class leading Orbit car – Here
we go again!! AJR looking to close a 90 second gap.
#88 158 laps
#80 157 laps
#50 154 laps
#87 144 laps
#77 142 laps
#75 141 laps
At 03.30, the Goh Audi
made its second stop for repairs - and after one lap out circulating,
it was back in for another stop, again four to five minutes. Wallace
in the #15 Dome has cut the margin from four laps to one.
39 cars still running
approaching half way - and the Bentleys and....the Panoz are the
ones in the least bother. The JML Panoz team is having a race to
inspire John McLoughlin. They're sixth and ninth.
Reynard has covered 123 laps, but is stuck in its garage with the
rear end in pieces to repair the diff.
It's much the
same among the top 11, but Jean-Marc Gounon sets #13's best lap
of the race so far, a 3:47.
slips out of the top 20 after a remarkable (nearly 12 hour) run
for the Italian chassis.
Either the Reynard
will win 675, or no one will. That class is that clear cut. The
WR and DBA are so far back that if the Reynard fails, victory by
the others would be silly.
top nine six hours ago are in exactly the same positions at half
way. The top 13 cars then are the top 13 now - the only change is
#4 and #17 exchanging places. Static or what? That's not altogether
fair: positions have changed, but they've reverted back to the six
Frederic Dor, now behind
the wheel of the #72 Ferrari loses ground to Ollie Gavin’s
Corvette. The #50 'Vette establishes itself in third place. It was
more or less at this point last year that the lone Prodrive 550
Maassen is now hacking
great lumps of time out of Peter Baron’s advantage, 36 seconds
in arrears at 03:20, down to 15 seconds at 03:30, 5 seconds at 03:35
and a 13 second advantage at 03:39!
Gavin is slowly, steadily
chipping away at the advantage of Turner ahead of him at 2-4 seconds
per lap. There is still a two lap deficit to overcome however. Pressure,
even from two laps back, may tell...or may not.
The driver to watch in
GT just now is Jorg Bermeister - the latest comeback kid, this time
for The Racers Group, back in 30th place overall, sixth in class.
All of a sudden it seems,
Perspective pop up in third place in GT, part of a Porsche freight
train which covers the first eight positions in class.