LMES - Nurburgring 1000 Kms - Race Report 1
Kaufmann - DNS (engine)
We've had a
great first hour's racing. The hour mark just about coincided with
the first stops for the leading group, which then found quite heavy
rain coming down. The two Veloqx Audis stayed out on slicks, while
the only car to challenge them, the DBA of Minassian, made a second
stop for wets.
pit stops, we'd had a very good three car race for half an hour:
the DBA led, but was then passed by Kaffer and Herbert on either
side, simultaneously on lap 5. That was actually Herbert and Kaffer,
these two already having had one side by side (with contact) moment.
Herbert was held up by Rostan's Pilbeam on lap 8, Kaffer taking
the lead... and pulling away quite noticeably. We've checked with
Audi PR man Martyn Pass, and Johnny Herbert was making no complaints
at all about his car - but he just wasn't lapping as fast as Kaffer.
The #8 car seems to have the advantage here. Herbert held off Minassian
for many laps, the DBA finally nipping past at the first corner
starting lap 25, and pulling away.
Seiji Ara had
been in fifth early on, but got the better of Ayari's Pescarolo
soon enough, but unlike the two silver and purple R8s, the Le Mans
winner did pit for wets just after the hour, dropping a lap behind.
Tommy Erdos really found some form just before the hour (and the
rain) lapping in under 1:50 and looking strong in sixth, a position
he took over from a strong-early-on John Nielsen in the Lister.
The red and white LMP then ran in a secure seventh, ahead of a relatively
slow-starting Barbosa, on his hard rubber. With John Stack then
up to seventh, Gounon eighth (LMP2) leader, Barbosa ninth (early
stop) and Belmondo tenth, we had Gounon was miles quicker than anyone
else in the class, and despite dropping to 20th early on (a spin?
- no, he started from the back, apparently) he soon marched back
up the order, into the top ten, and into the class lead.
GTS was the
expected Bartels / Bouchut battle, the Saleen ahead for most of
the hour, until Bouchut passed on lap 18 - but was then chopped
by the Auto Palace 360 at the first corner, and spinning down to
(still) second place, 50 seconds down. The GNM and yellow Konrad
Saleens battled with the Besson Viper for third in class, until
the Viper was pushed into its garage.
GT saw a very
good four way fight between Maassen, Rockenfeller, Daoudi and Freisinger
(plus the impressive Auto Palace Ferrari until its contact with
Bouchut), and as the rain fell, Rockenfeller in the #81 was notified
that he had to take a one minute stop and go penalty.
two laps down after an early gravel visit, other problems delaying
the 99 Pilbeam (engine) and the Renauer LMP2 (clutch, right at the
hour 2, at 80+ minutes, the still slick-shod Kaffer was stuck in
the gravel - and then towed out. Herbert by then was on wets, the
only cars apart from Kaffer on slicks being Liddell and Pompidou's.
Herbert and Minassian were suddenly racing for the lead.
It's very wet
NB. A visit
from Wolfgang Kaufmann and we find that the turbo Porsche broke
an anti-roll bar mounting in qualifying earlier today... which was
fixed easily enough, but it broke again on the formation lap, and
when the German pitted, the team again found water in the oil, causing
them to withdraw the car. The engine problem (twice) follows 60
hours running with the first unit - with no problems at all. "That's
racing," said our genial Nordschleife host.