LMES - Nurburgring 1000 Kms - Race Report 3
30 minutes into
the fourth hour, and the Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx pattern has been
established - again.
Kaffer - who must both be about to pit to conclude their racing
for the day - are now separated by just 12 seconds, with Dindo Capello
almost holding ground to Herbert but dropping away from Kaffer.
The young man has been the hardest charger in this race....
like a McNish versus Davies last two-fifths of the race, with the
#8 car having been consistently the quicker so far.
JC-W has gone
a lap down in fourth, with Pescarolo's car still just 11 seconds
ahead of Martin Short in the battle for fifth, three laps down.
3 hours 40.
109 laps. 8 pits, Kaffer to McNish. One lap earlier, #88 had pitted,
Herbert to Davies. Capello leads, his schedule being a few minutes
later than the rival R8s'. When he pits, he drops to third again.
hell fire! On his first flying lap, Jamie Davies sets a high 1:47,
this car's best lap of the race. On his first flying lap, Allan
McNish - who we gather was champing at the bit to get in the Kaffer
car - sets a stunning 1:45.879, eight tenths quicker than Minassian's
pole... the first for Dunlop since we can't remember when, incidentally.
Within a few
moments, it seems, McNish catches and immediately passes Jamie Davies,
for the lead. We still can't find out why the 88 car has been consistently
a little off the pace of the 8 car. Johnny Herbert has so far not
given any indication why that might be.
McNish is absolutely
on it here.
A little before
this action, the Belmondo Courage ground to a halt, out on the track,
race over. Can the Gounon / Hancock C65 hold on ahead of... who
is second in LMP2 now?
Randaccio - 9 laps behind Courage's C65
WR - 12 laps behind Gounon etc.
Bruneau's Pilbeam - 14 laps
Tracsport - 19 laps.
In other news,
we believe the #81 Rockenfeller etc. Porsche has been disqualified
for ignoring a stop go penalty. The Lister has dropped well down
with a transmission / driveshaft malady - but the misfire has been
cured (apparent from its early pace).
quite continue at that formidable pace, but within 10 laps he's
passed Davies and pulled out just over seven seconds. The pattern
in three classes is very similar to Monza... three Audis... a Zytek
/ DBA (or both in Italy) and (then) the Rollcentre and Pescarolo
cars fighting over the next place, fourth then, fifth here.... a
good old scrap in GT, the same two cars ahead in GTS (Vitaphone
two laps ahead of Larbre now).... and, well, very similar in LMP2,
except that the factory Courage is the class of the field here (it
didn't race in Monza).
four hours, and don't quite feel the need for a full run down, as
the changes in the order are more subtle now.
The 8 / 88 battle
isn't quite like Monza though, where it seemed to see-saw throughout.
Here, #8 has an advantage - exaggerated by the fact that we find
that the 88 car has been given a stop / go penalty, for speeding
in the pit lane. On the way in (Herbert) or on the way out
is in the Dallara for the first time approaching four hours, and
brushes the tyre wall on his first lap out of the pits, which partly
explains why Rollcentre has dropped two laps behind Pescarolo. We
can imagine M. Short gnashing his teeth in the pits.
GT is really
hotting up. Ortelli is 1 second behind Jones for the lead of the
class, while the JWR car is 8 seconds behind the Sebah Porsche for
third, and catching at a second per lap.
4 hrs 25 and
the JWR car takes third in GT, head of the Sebah 911.
Ah, wrong info.:
the race director or his team announced the wrong number for the
stop and go, and it certainly wasn't for the 88 Audi. McNish, Davies
and Capello continue to run 1-2-3, the gaps easing out a little
between the first two, Capello hanging on in third.
Four and a half
hours and the Perspective Porsche of Ian Khan, which had been as
high as fifth in class, sadly retires with a broken gearbox.
4 hours 45 and
the three Audis have just completed another pit top sequence - and
rain starts to fall, lightly for now.
Nicolas Minassian, #3
Creation Autosportif DBA Zytek: “That was lots of fun but
very, very hard work. I really didn’t want to make a mistake
but the car was fantastic. We had great pace in the wet and great
pace in the dry too. The tyre blew on the straight, I think a bit
of debris. It was a real shame, the Dunlops have been fantastic.
“The Audi boys
race hard but then I’m not playing around either!”
The tyre was punctured
by a piece of debris, we believe.
Kazumichi Goh: “It
is very difficult for the drivers and for the team. We have been
pretty lucky so far with our tyre choices – So far so good!”
Sascha Maassen, #93 Cirtek
Porsche: “So far we have guessed right with the weather .We’re
out on intermediates right now and will go as far as we can until
it gets dry and then slicks.”
Robin Liddell, #71 JWR
Porsche: “For the first half of the lap I was pulling in Collard
a wee bit, there were a few spots of rain and as I came around Turn
5 I seemed to get onto a patch of something. I don’t know
whether it was water, oil or just a damp patch of tarmac and the
back end came around on me. There must have been something there
as there were three other cars in the same gravel trap within a
couple of laps.
“I knew I’d
have to fight may way back, the team wanted to pull me back in when
the first shower started but I said no, we should tough it out and
wait to see if it passed. It did pass but the second shower was
much heavier and the call was to go for inters – it was exactly
the right move and we’ve made a lot of headway as a result.
We saved a chunk of time in not pitting when the others did and
we’ve pulled back another chunk on pace too.
“When it was wet
out there it was horrendous on slicks. I aquaplaned at least twice
on my in lap – not nice at all.”
We believe there was
oil on the track at the fifth corner, at the start of the race.
John Gaw - #36 Tracsport
Lola (on being tagged by Pierre Kaffer in the #8 Audi): “What
happened? He came out of nowhere. The impact sent me round and he’s
wiped off the diveplane but other than that the car is fine.”
Emmanuel Collard, #85
Freisinger Porsche: “Slicks and a big shower was not a nice
mixture. I wanted to stay out though as we had 20 minutes of fuel
left. The team though told me to pit, I think too early, for wets.
We’re on inters now which is the right choice but we made
the wrong call and lost time.”
Fiona Pearce, Lister
Storm LMP: “The driveshaft went, we think, out on the circuit
and we’re trying to get the car back now. (The car was recovered
and the Lister team are now trying to locate and fix a mystery transmission
glitch). “At least we’ve fixed the misfire,” a
remarkably chipper Laurence Pearce said to a ruefully grinning John
Soheil Ayari, #17 Pescarolo:
“It has been a quite complicated race so far. We pitted sooner
than some of the other cars, particularly the Zytek (DBA) and that
cost us badly. Too many stops and a right rear puncture when I was
in the car have done us no good at all. We’ve just had bad
luck on timing so far.”
Thomas Erdos, #27 RML
MG Lola: “The plan was to double stint with me in the car.
We started on slicks and at the first fuel stop went for inters.
That was very much the right way to go. Slicks were too dangerous,
it was very slippery out there. Our tyre choice paid off very well
had three stops and there are others on five or even six (Kaffer
stopping for a sixth time as Erdos was speaking). One of our three
was apparently for overtaking under yellows – if I did then
I must have missed the yellows in the spray.”
Marino Franchitti, #80
Sebah Porsche: “It’s going great. We ran on wets in
those showers but inters would have been perfect. We had a big problem
with the radio – we could hear the team but they couldn’t
hear us. That cost us when we could have told them which tyres would
have worked best. All in all though we’re delighted.”
Joao Barbosa, #6 Rollcentre
Dallara: “The car was very difficult in the wet with massive
oversteer. I saw heavy rain coming down and we took a chance on
changing to wets. The car was pretty good, very driveable. For a
couple of laps I couldn’t upshift. I had to slow down and
come down one gear and then it would clear it. Perhaps water in
the electrics? Either way it’s fine now.”
Ian Khan, #79 Perspective
Porsche: “Wet, Dry, Wet, Dry, Spray, Wet, Avoid spinning the
Roman Rusinov, #70 JMB
Ferrari 360: “We have a problem with the starter, the team
are changing it now. The frontal damage was from early in the race
when Stephane had a coming together with a Porsche.”
John Hartshorne, Peninsula
TVR: How do you feel John? “Elderly! I was going to get in
third but when Graeme came in for wets we sensibly decided to change
drivers, but we couldn’t find Richard (Stanton) so they shoved
me in instead.
the car had a misfire at the first corner so I decided to come in
just in case it stopped the car out on the circuit. We changed the
ECU and I went out again, it had all but cleared up. The wiper though
was pretty useless, you still had to use it because without it you
can see nothing at all when a prototype passes.”
five hours and the rain is coming down hard, cars are spinning into
the gravel at regular intervals - including the #88 car, which briefly
met some gravel - and although the sun is out at approaching 21.00,
the circuit is very wet. The DBA has come in for more appropriate
rubber, but the Audis haven't. The Courage C65 spun at the first
corner, and is struggling to fire up again...
out in #88, but McNish pits for different rubber. As at Monza, the
two Veloqx Audis are being run in whatever ways their strategists
choose. McNish takes on fuel too.
the gravel, but quickly continues.
At 21.00, McNish
re-passes the struggling Davies for the lead: inters seem to be
the tyre choice on #8.
afterwards, the JWR Porsche spins and hits (is hit) by Capello's
Audi, which has taken a hard enough hit to do some real damage to
the left rear suspension. The italian crabs his way back to the
lap, Davies 2:26 lap. One hour to go.