72nd Le Mans 24 Hours - Hours 13, 14 & 15

Martin Short: “We needed some oil in the car at Joao’s schedule stop but we had a case of confused hand signals and Joao took off with the oil line still on the car. It is the only mistake the boys have made all night though.” The extra stop has cost the team about forty seconds and Treluyer is on a real charge as well which makes things a bit worse for Shorty.

Andy Wallace: “The car was obviously going well but sometimes it is not your day, with the two punctures already… but then mine… I was very lucky to get away with it at 200mph. We could easily be ahead of the Audis on a circuit without long straights. This is our worst circuit and Monza is our second worst and we were even competitive there. The last three ELMS races will suit the car much better but unfortunately I can’t make it because of Grand Am and ALMS races.”

Hayanari Shimoda – any warning? “The car was fine until I backed off into the Porsche curves, accelerator flat down on the exit and bang.”

Ortelli: “Ralf was knocked off by another car and went into the gravel so came in to change tyres. He has never driven a GT3 before and is doing so well. Now we need to stay ahead and push very hard.”

The Freisinger RSR is still three laps ahead.

The 65 Ferrari is in the midst of gear selector problems, and it could be that the team will have to change the gearbox.

200 laps are completed by the leader - still the 88 Audi, at 12 Hours and 48 minutes. Heading for 380 laps?

GT is becoming a real old thrash: Freisinger and friends lead the Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ mail2web.com/ Hella/ Justice Brothers/ BBS/ Michelin/ Premier SportsCar Services/ AVID Design, Inc./ Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR by two laps, but Patrick Long is gaining on Stephane Ortelli, best lap by the Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS etc. etc. a 4:08.476.

"I've been gone for an hour and it doesn't look very different," says Gary Horrocks. There are subtle changes: the Dallara is being caught all the time by the Champion Audi, the gap at almost 05.00 being almost exactly three minutes. Marco Werner and Seiji Ara are consistently the fastest men on the track.

5 :00 am: Tom Coronel has brought the 16 Dome back into the top 10 at the expense of the Taurus Lola Judd.

The 64 Corvette rejoins after a 15 minute stop, now down to 11th overall, six laps down on the class leading GTS car, the Enge-driven Ferrari.

By 05.30, the Champion Audi is just half a minute behind the Dallara, and it looks as though only the 18 Pescarolo can prevent an Audi 1-2-3.

Biela and Kaffer are up to 12th in the 8 Audi.

Ortelli, Massen and Rockenfeller are gving it everything in GT. Maassen a 4:08.377 at 05.30, Rockenfeller a 4:07.227, fastest GT lap of the race - and it is barely light at all. Next laps: Maassen 4:09.242, Rockenfeller 4:07.241. 'Rocky' is 71 seconds behind. The top thee entries are filling the top three places.

Rockenfeller's next lap is also a 4:07.

Pirro is about to pass the Dallara for fourth (but pits before he can do so), while the 17 Courage is rught with Enge, preparing to take eighth overall.

The 66 and 64 GTS leaders are eighth and ninth, but six laps apart.

The misfring Nasamax and the Lister are 16th and 20th. The Nasamax has had a misfire for many hours, but the decison has been taken to grin and bear it. Pirro finally passes the Dallaa for fourth, next target Ayari, two laps ahead.

Biela laps in 3:35.490, first man into the 35s, while Rockenfeller is now in the 4:06s.

06.30 and the Advan Dome has been marooned in its pit for half an hour, after failing to start up at its routine pit stop.

Stalemate continues at the front, Capello unable to gain any appreciable time on Herbert. The latter, incidentally, completed a quadruple stint last night, from 20.28 until 00.19, nearly four hours in the 88 race leader.

Lupberger sets the Nasamax's best race lap just before 06.30, a 3:43.627. Andre sets a 3:49, best lap for the Taurus Lola Judd, running in tenth.

A glimmer of hope for the non Audi Brigade. For the first time since the Audi Porsche Curves debacle, an R8 loses a place: Martin Short takes over from Rob Barff and puts a lap on the stationary Champion R8, which loses eight minutes with a disc change.

At 06.45, the Advan Dome is still stationary, and about to slip out of the top ten, behind the Wilson RfH Dome. The sister car eases in to the top 16, a lap behind the flying Rockenfeller.

In the three classes that are still genuine races, Herbert leads Capello by less than a lap, Menu leads Beretta by six, and Dumas leads Lieb by three.

06.57: Drama for M Short. He's pushed off the road at the foot of the the new sweeper after Dunlop, by the 17 Courage of Bourdais. He's beached, then dragged out of the gravel... The Dallara is undamaged, but Pirro gets ahead again.

15 Hours
88 235 laps
5 233
18 228
6 226
2 225
17 219
66 217
64 211
4 211
16 210
8 209
63 206
9 206
85 204
15 202
87 202.

Kaffer puts the 8 Audi into the gravel, then Herbert pits, for a driver change to Davies... and an adjustment to the rear suspension... which allows Capello to take the lead for the first time. Is this the first time a non-Veloqx car has led the race?

The Veloqx mechanics use an angle grinder to 'adjust' the rear suspension - a stop of seven minutes. Davies will be over a lap in arrears. Understeer fixed?

McRae has stopped at Mulsanne Corner, in no 65 Ferrari 550.

 

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