LMES - Spa-Francorchamps - First Hour
We'll be bringing news to you 'live' during the 144
lap race, with just a slight pause after the start, as we gather
some collected thoughts on the busiest period of what should be
a superb race.
#36 de Fournoux
It was an amazing
first ten laps. Minassian and Kaffer touched at Eau Rouge on the
first lap, which gave the Frenchman an instant puncture, spinning
him around at the top of the first corner.
Kaffer and Herbert
then touched at Les Combes, which cost them both time, Dindo Capello
taking the lead.
until the tenth lap, Kaffer hounding Capello towards Raidillon -
and taking the lead. Herbert had already been delayed in traffic,
and had dropped a few seconds back. Then Ayari had a big accident
in the Pescarolo, at the left hander before Pouhon - so we had a
Safety Car. Or rather two of them. We believe he went off on oil...
at this stage been fourth in GT, but stopped on the track - then
made it back to the pits, for fuel only. Freisinger led from Farnbacher
and Hughes in the RSR TVR. Kirkaldy was an early pitter with problems
with the floor of the 360 GTC.
was a rare one - a lump of flying rubber had hit the electrical
cut-off and left him with a dead car - until he hopped out and switched
it back on. PK Sport had this rare problem at Sebring a couple of
years ago. Sebah called him in for wets soon after the early fuel
stop, but with Marc Lieb at the wheel, the car was soon back in
had been putting on a very good show at the front, Barbosa running
very strongly in fourth in the Dallara. Ayari had been fifth until
his accident, with Hignett sixth, Erdos slipping back a little over
the opening laps to seventh, the Lister eight and the Nasamax ninth.
was dominating LMP2, while the amazing Alzen was up to second in
class after ten laps, only three seconds behind the class leading
#86 Larbre Ferrari.
two laps after that first corner incident.
the SCs appeared, Kaffer made a mistake and let Capello back into
The SCs pulled
off - with the second of them having gone round so slowly that it
lost Herbert and everyone else nearly a lap - to Capello and Kaffer.
Bizarre. Herbert completed lap 15 102 seconds behind Capello!
Lap 17 and Capello
led by 2.2 seconds from Kaffer - with the DBA up to 18th place.
The Nasamax, Lister and Jota Zytek all pitted under the SC.
The Lister then
pitted again, the engine apparently not running as it cruised down
pitlane. It was pushed into its garage. Radiator troubles, we believe.
was hit by a Porsche, and then under the Safety Car, he spun on
his own water," explained Marc Goossens.
There are spots
of rain about - as there were during the first ten laps.
#62 has a five
minute stop-go penalty!
set a 2:07.098, the second fastest lap of the race, as he moves
sweetly up to twelfth on lap 19.
20 laps: heavy
rain on the pits straight.
The Palmyr Lucchini
pits with front end damage. It would return to the track two hours
right up on Herberts Audi but then pits for fuel
The #40 TVR
is pushed into the garage to attend to braking problems as the rain
stops and a strange orange disc appears in the sky - Apparently
this is called the sun!
The #8 Audi
appears in the pits rear end deranged, rear bodywork missing and
the rear of the car well alight, the safety car is deployed and
incredibly Kaffer takes the R8 the full length of the pitlane back
to his own pitbox.
The #41 TVR
meanwhile is stationary at the Bus Stop with heavy frontal damage
- did the T400R and the R8 get together on the circuit? Possibly,
Kaffer reports to the team that he was hit, he isn't sure by whom.
We understand that it was a Ferrari - at Blanchimont. The TV pictures
tell the story, a large portion of Audi rear bodywork is removed
from the circuit at the same point as the stationary TVR.
The #79 Perspective
Porsche suffers a freak mishap, as the car leaves the pits the rear
spoiler catches a trailing air line which rips off the rear spoiler
and engine cover, the car is wheeled back for attention.
the opportunity to pit for fuel, Capello pits in the leading #5
car next time around. This time the safety car works in Herbert's
favour and the Englishman takes the lead.
"I was turning into
the right hand part of the Bus Stop and saw nothing coming at all
- then there was a massive impact, as the Audi seemed to fall out
of the sky," explained Warren Hughes. "I presume he was
going backwards - it was a very big impact."
that poor Pierre Kaffer was tipped into a spin at Blanchimont, by
a Ferrari, the German's accident carrying on all the way to the
Bus Stop. "I'm assuming he came across the grass at me, so
didn't lose any speed at all," added Hughes. "I'm gutted,
we could have won this race."
pleased with what we've achieved here," said car owner Lawrence
Tomlinson. "We had a good chance of winning this one. Next
The other TVR
was stationary with a brake problem: "Only rear brakes,"
said Nigel Greensall. "It was great fun, setting it up for
the corners like McRae, but no way to race here for six hours."
The master cylinder was being worked on...
were made for a rear end change on #8, but those plans were soon
abandoned, and #8 was retired.
has explained that he and the Cirtek Ferrari were going through
Blanchimont when the incident began: "I was on the outside
line and we made contact and lost the car on the wet part. I knew
the car was on fire, but I thought it was only a little fire - I
never realised it was this bad."
Kaffer was on the inside line at Blanchimont, and slithered along
the barrier on the left, all the way to the Bus Stop.
don't need further explanation.