LMES – Silverstone – Race Report 3 - Hours 4 & 5
We're expecting a Chris Dyson pit stop soon, from fourth place, as the fourth hour begins.

The second placed Vitaphone Saleen pulled off, after trundling slowly along for a few hundred metres. That looks to be it for this one: as at Spa, three hours was enough. Larbre's Ferrari has an even bigger lead - now over the Hezemans Ferrari 575 and then the Nash Saleen.

Completing the third hour, the Nasamax was in seventh, but the third stop for the RML Lola (quite a long one) just into the fourth hour saw the Nasamax inherit sixth, six laps behind Allan McNish. The RML Lola would not fire up, and was pushed into its pit. "Starter motor" we're told.

Chris Dyson completed a double stint at 3 hours 10 minutes, but stayed in for a third stint, on the same rubber. The Audis, on a different strategy, have 10 laps or so to go before they stop.

Mike Newton rejoined in the RML Lola after a long stop, now ninth and 13 laps off the lead. A lambda sensor was changed and the ECU re-programmed, but then it wouldn't fire up. Ramos will drive the last part of the race, after double stints from Erdos and Newton.

After all the GT mayhem, it was now Daoudi's Ferrari still leading, a lap clear of the Goh Porsche - which had only six seconds on Warren Hughes in the Chamberlain-Synergy TVR. Hughes was catching the 911 at two seconds per lap. The Sebah 911was still in contention, in fourth.

Notable achievements so far:
- the Audi Sport UK Audis, running 1-2
- the Goh Audi, not quite as quick in third
- the factory Zytek, fourth, only 17 seconds behind Ara
- Jota in fifth, a lap behind the black 04S, but Collini a little off the pace
- the Nasamax in the top six, three laps clear of the Dallara
- the red Courage in eighth overall, five laps clear of the WR, which was second in LMP2
- Larbre leading GTS
- the #62 Barron-Connor 575 only one lap behind
- JMB leading GT
- Choroq, Sebah and Chamberlain-Synergy, battling for second in GT
- the Lola Caterpillar, which is still circulating.

3 hours 33: Herbert pitted, routinely, new tyres.

Nasamax: It’s been three successful hours for Nasamax, Romain Dumas now triple stinting having brought the car from 11th place up to sixth at the halfway stage.

Werner Lupberger had found the early going tough “The car was sliding all over the place, the new regulations mean we run with less downforce and this is a high downforce circuit. The engine though is fantastic, very powerful and we’re again the fastest in a straight line.

John McNeil explained the fine balance being made. “If we push too hard the tyres go off.”

3 hours 40: The Jota Zytek had a tap from the Lister at Luffield, spinning the 04S round, Short having to take avoiding action - and ending up in the gravel. The Lister has been moving up through the field after its rear suspension problem, now 13th.

McNish and Ara both pitted on schedule - and the Scot then set any Audi's fastest lap of the race, a 1:37.713.

The Taurus Lola lost ten minutes with an oil leak, and there is a suspicion of water in the engine oil, but it has passed its own 100 lap mark.

Nearly 4 hours, and #22 and #69 Zyteks pit together: routine for the factory car, but engine cover off the Jota 04S. That should put the Nasamax in fifth overall. Black tape has been applied to the black Zytek, but it was only a loose piece of bodywork. Chris Dyson, vacating the car for Robbie Kerr, acknowledged a spin at Becketts, but otherwise was very happy with his triple stint, rubber pick-up and traffic the only concerns.

The 8 and 88 Audis were approximately 90 seconds apart as we reached the four hour mark, Ara another minute back.

At four hours
#88 -96s
#5 -64s
#22 -2 laps
#14 -5 laps
#69 (in pits, about to rejoin after a rear suspension repair)
#13 LMP2 leader
#6 -8.5s (about to take the place)
#7 -15s
#86 -19s GTS leader
#62 -39s
#52 -1 lap
#61 -1 lap
#36 -27s
#70 -22s GT leader
#27 -1 lap
#80 -36s
#77 -57s (but due a 5 minute stop and go)
#89-1 lap
#81 -52s.

4 hours 10 minutes: Chamberlain-Synergy TVR slowing past the pits...

The 3rd in class ChoroQ Porsche has been called in for a 5 minute stop-go penalty after overtaking the Team Jota Zytek in the pitlane. The car which would have inherited the position, the #89 TVR is however also in trouble, it completes a slow lap and pits, engine cover off. Third in GT will instead be grabbed by the Farnbacher Racing Porsche.

McNish is clearly angling to put a lap on Johnny Herbert, the #8 Audi storming along. Mission accomplished, McNish pulls away.

The #28 Randaccio Tampolli expires in a puff (or rather a cloud) of smoke on the exit of Club.

The Lister has a spin into the gravel at Abbey, and the Dallara cruises round to pit and is pushed back into the garage, Short apparently suffering the rather irritating problem of an engine cutting out whenever the throttle pedal is pressed. It emerges that the car has an ECU fault, the unit losing voltage, it falls well down the order (rejoining in 19th place)

Justin Keen crawls the Lister to the pitlane and cuts the engine immediately, the Lister boys pushing the car down the pitlane and scooping large quantities of gravel from every orifice.

The GTS leader, Pedro Lamy in the #86 Larbre Ferrari 550 and the #61 Barron Connor Ferrari 575 both receive 1 minute stop/go penalties, the 575 exceeding the pitlane speed limit (the limiter having broken earlier in the race). The penalty will cost the Larbre team 8th place overall to the RML Lola but the class lead looks secure. Its been a long hot race for the 550 squad, the drinks system having failed. That has been the only problem for the Prodrive 550...

Capello is now pushing hard to try to split the Veloqx Audis: he posts the Team Goh car's fastest lap of the race on lap 158, down into the 1:38s.

Robbie Kerr pits ahead of schedule with evidence of a grassy moment on the front of the #22 Zytek, John Wickham reporting that the RML Lola hadn't seen Kerr coming and had pushed the car off the circuit.

The TVR's stop lost it around eight minutes (and three places) with a broken spring on an exhaust collector: the mechanics were working through a small access panel just in front of the passenger side door. "We were going to be P3," said a frustrated Bob Berridge.

In the next door pit David Leslie got out of the GNM Saleen, where the only problem was the fuel warning light coming on a lap too late. "I wanted it to come on and give me two laps warning and not one." Phil Bennett is in the car at present and Paul Whight should then complete the race.

Mike Jordan was sitting looking disconsolate: "We don't know whether it was the master cylinder or the clutch. I doubt it was the master cylinder and the clutch looked brand new. No one in the class passed me in the stint I've just done." The master cylinder was changed while the clutch itself was changed, just in case.

Let's go way back to the first double stints of the race. Jamie Davies explained that "the balance of our car just went away after a few laps. They changed the tyres after my double and found that one of the rears was down to 1.4 bar when it should have been 2 bar. They found a cut in the tyre. but Johnny is finding that the balance isn't as good as the #8 car." As we type this Herbert is slipping back into the clutches of a charging Dindo Capello in a developing battle for second place, with 25 laps remaining. Herbert pits out of sequence, shaking his head and Capello storms through to take the place.

Whatever the reason for the stop (It was a splash and dash) Herbert rejoins quickly six seconds behind the Goh car next time around., but dropping back. It's a second and a half to two seconds per lap, but Herbert has made his last stop, while Capello has one more to make.

Patrick Long is pushing on in pursuit of second place in GT, posting the fastest lap of the day for the #81 car on lap 143, 90 seconds behind the Sebah Porsche ahead.

The Gounon / Hancock / Frei Courage is ten laps ahead of the WR at 5 hours, which lies second in LMP2. It was between these two at the 'Ring, before the #13 spun and stalled...

Daoudi has been having an almost perfect run in the JMB Ferrari. In an interesting battle, Jonny Kane is only a handful of seconds behind the Collard (power steering-less) Porsche, in a battle for fifth in GT.

The Lister and the Taurus Lola have both been retired.


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