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LMES – Silverstone – Race Report 2 - Hours 2 & 3
The second hour began with the 99 and 28 P2s in trouble (P2 true to form), but at the front, the two Courages and Pullan in the K2 were convincingly 1-2-3.

Robbie Kerr brought the seven second gap to Pierre Kaffer down to one second by lap 36, with Jamie Davies 14 seconds behind #22.

64 minutes and 37 laps and the two leaders were nose to tail - Kerr then going right round the outside of Kaffer at Club (in traffic) and taking the lead. Kerr made good use of traffic to pull out a gap straight away.

A black and orange flag for the K2 Pilbeam then saw Pullan pit, and a replacement nose fitted. Two laps lost, so Gounon is well way in the lead, ahead of Gosselin. Pullan had contact with a GTS car, damaging the nose. Our spotter reckoned it was very light damage.

Minassian has copped a two minute penalty.... but doesn't seem in a rush to pit and take it. He was two seconds behind Davies.

Daoudi pitted at 70 minutes. Maassen led GT by 30+seconds, from Long.

Approaching 75 minutes and Minassian, showing no sign of pitting, was right with Davies, for third place. Ian Bickerton has an expression which suggests that he has sorted that out successfully. It was going to be a penalty for not having extinguishers available at the pit stop - but they were.

Gosselin pitted, smoke having been seen coming from the Belmondo Courage. Gounon leads by miles, from the Palmyr Lucchini and the WR.

76 minutes and Kerr and Keen come together at Stowe, the Lister spinning, the race leader continuing.

The crowd figure today is 14,000.

Unscheduled stop for Kerr at 80 minutes, 46 laps. Tyres and Chris Dyson. The team wanted to check the car over after the contact with the Lister.

Kaffer led by 22 seconds from Davies, with Minassian half a second behind, then Capello and Hignett well separated in fourth and fifth, Chris Dyson sixth. Barbosa, Keen, Erdos and Lupberger completed the top ten. lap 49 and Chris Dyson was the fastest man on the track - but a lap down, running between the Veloqx Audis. He stayed in front of Jamie Davies.

The Lola Caterpillar is in the top 20 - in 20th place. Alzen was in 12th, one place behind Gounon, and 37 seconds ahead of Bouchut.

Mike Jordan was seen on his knees, helping to fit a new clucth in the JWR RSR. Ominously, the old one looked fine.

Post the first stops for all the GTs (it isn't very close in this usually close class):
#93 (Jones - 22nd overall)
#81 -54.7
#80 -24.2
#89 -20.0
#70 -2.2
#84 -54.6
#77 -13.6
#92 -4.0
#90 -3.1
#91 -98.

85 mins and Barbosa pitted early, to change tyres and for Pat Pearce to take over. The Nasamax pitted at the same time, Robbie (stalling) Stirling taking over..

Approaching 90 minutes and Kaffer's lead had grown to 36 seconds. The best race was still Minassian chasing Davies, the gap less than two seconds. Dyson was chasing Justin Keen, but was under pressure to lose a lap to Jamie Davies.

100 minutes: Minassian passed Davies for second, at Becketts. These two were 45 seconds behind Kaffer. Capello a steady fourth, 20 seconds further back, Hignett another 20 behind.

GT and GTS leaders in trouble? Alzen was seen going slowly, while the Jones Cirtek Porsche was sounding rough. Alzen (no, Konrad himself) had a left rear puncture, having spun at Becketts. The long journey back lets Larbre into the GTS lead, but the former third placed GNM Saleen (Bennett) has pitted with a problem. He was hit by a prototype. Konrad replaced one tyre, then came back for three more.

Randaccio's Tampolli has had two penalties - for pit lane speeding and flapping bodywork.

One hour 45 minutes and the leaders started a regular series of stops. Davies first (for Herbert), Kaffer a lap later, with Minassian. McNish got in for the first time. Capello then pitted, for Ara. New tyres all round.

Jones was lapping in 2:02 in the GT race leader. Peter Owen stopped in the complex in the K2 Pilbeam, with an oil flag showing behind him. He managed to limp back to the pits.

Post the pit stops, we had:
McNish
Herbert -49
JC-W -29
Dyson -7
Ara -5
Erdos (yet to stop) -21.

Erdos then pitted at 122 minutes.

Jones (#93 Cirtek Porsche) has stopped on the circuit as we approached two hours, so GT is:
#70 JMB Ferrari
#81 Farnbacher Porsche -38
#89 TVR! -5

The gap between the two Audis and the two Zyteks has grown - from 39 seconds to 45. Qualifying may not have been an Audi affair, but the race is turning out that way, with McNish and Herbert at the wheel of 8 and 88.

The Lister has pitted with rear suspension trouble. It was a broken rear track rod, probably as a result of the contact with Kerr (see below).

The TVR pitted - from second in GT! Lars Nielsen looked to be off the pace in the Farnbacher Porsche, and slipped down the order. Meanwhile, the JWR Porsche resumed racing at 125 minutes, with its new clutch - but 43 laps down on the JMB Ferrari.

JC-W, Dyson and Ara were separated by 5 and 2 seconds, in third fourth and fifth. JC-W's gap up to Herbert had grown from 29 seconds to 42.

Frei in the red Courage led LMP2, now by four laps from the Palmyr Lucchini. The Tracsport Lola moved up to third in LMP2.

The K2 Pilbeam has been retired. Contact while Pullan was at the wheel bent the steering, and when Peter Owen was sent out, the car suffered a damage-related suspension failure. "The Nash Saleen turned in on me at Becketts, I got past then was hit again," said Pullan. The hub was broken.

David Leslie was happy with the GNM Saleen, despite the contact (above). Phil Bennett was fourth in class, splitting the Barron Connor Ferraris.

Chris Dyson pitted at two and a quarter hours, fuel and new rubber.

RML Lola running very slowly.... the engine let go on the #93 Cirtek Porsche. Maassen reported that Jones had radioed in from the Hangar Straight saying it had lost all power.

Two and a half hours: the two Veloqx Audis are stuck at 47 seconds between them, with Ara in third. Dindo Capello complained of poor handling early on, having lost a dive plane on one front corner. Ara took over with a new nose.

Ten minutes later and Herbert, running with eaxctly the same nose damage that Lehto had at Portland, pitted for fuel and a new one. The Rollcentre Dallara has had a long stop with gearshift actuator trouble. It resumed racing in tenth.

JC-W has been plummeting down the order.. we'll find out why. He was stationary in the pits.

Collard was clearly struggling with the Yukos Porsche, which looked as though it didn't have p/steering, still.

With the Audis having just completed their routine stops, they are 1-2-3, Chris Dyson fourth.

Justin Keen – “The car has been running better than ever but we’ve just had a long stop to replace the right rear track rod. I can only think it was damaged in the hit with the Zytek. It was fine after the hit so I can only presume it gave up just after Rob got in.”

Robbie Kerr: - “It was all going according to plan, I was looking after the tyres and going nowhere near 100%. After the pitstops Kaffer was ahead and the team told me to work the tyres a little more to close the gap. I got the lead back and it was all going well until the Lister decided to turn in on me. We’ve just had Chris in for tyres and it turns out he had a slow puncture – Hopefully he’ll be a bit more comfortable with the car now.”

John Gaw – Tracsport Lola – “We’ve just had to pit to change a rear light cluster (no brake or indicator lights). The car has been really tricky to drive, the worst I’ve ever known it, the pick-up off line is incredible, whenever you move over to let one of the leaders by the vibration is so bad you can barely see.”

Stephane Ortelli – “The power steering pump failed, it’s the first time in around 5 years that I can ever remember that happening. It is very hard work out there.”

John Stack (Team Jota Zytek) – “We’ve had a good run so far, about time we got some good luck. Sam had an excellent opening stint but Gianni really needs to up his pace if we’re to stay in touch.”

Tommy Erdos – RML MG Lola - “I was hit quite hard at the first corner by the Lister and the car just didn’t feel right, big understeer. It was way better on my second set of tyres though.”

Graham Nash – “We’ve had a great run but got hit by the #34 K2 car. Phil brought the car in out of sequence for a check over but we’re OK.”

The Creation DBA has been losing time with a detached exhaust system... and then stuck in gear.

100 laps, nearly 3 hours
#8 Audi
#88 -73 s
#5 -49s
#22 -44s
#69 -17s
#7 -2 laps
#14 -16s
#13 -31s
#6 -43s
#86 -2 laps
#62 -75s
#59 -49 s
#36 -41s
#61 -55s
#31 -1 lap
#52 -12 s
#27 -35s
#3 (plummeting)
#70
#80 -86s
#20 -5 s
#77
#89
#81.

Danny Sullivan in the #61 B-C Ferrari has had contact with the Cirtek Ferrari, the latter looking as though it is out.

Rory Passey: “I moved off line to let an Audi by and ended up with a big oversteery moment and then the big Ferrari (#61 Barron Connor 575) appeared and Bang! He hit me on the left rear, the car went off into the gravel and it's all over for us today I’m afraid.”

Notice the Sebah Porsche in second place in GT, but the car then had a brief (Pompidou) off at Stowe. The purple TVR is still well up in GT.

The DBA has been retired.... the first LMP1 to retire. Nicolas Minassian – “It’s very frustrating. We were having a great run, right in amongst the Audis again. The exhaust though failed and that’s it I’m afraid – Roll on Spa!”

 

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