1000 Km – Hour 1
Great Balls Of Spray - Initially
and Lammers moved away into the distance very early on, Erdos spun
the RML Lola at Dunlop on lap 1, the Panoz spun towards the end
of lap 2, and was beached in the gravel.
The Lister ran
third for a couple of laps, then dropped behind the Pescarolo Courage
– and Peter Kox was fifth by lap four, in the #80 550, ahead
of Earl Goddard, Jon Field (675 leader) and Jamie Davies. Ortelli
was ahead of Kaufmann’s Saleen and led GT.
The rain has
made for a fairly slow start. There is a light persistent drizzle.
Races on the Bugatti circuit appear inherently slower than those
on the long course as the cars come by the front straight out of
a tight turn.
It took ten minutes before
Beretta was able to extricate the Panoz coupe from the gravel. The
Scottish Ferrari was the first to make a pit stop. The top standings
in the early going are; Kristensen (Audi), Lammers (Dome), Sarrazin
(Courage), Campbell-Walter (Lister) in LMP 900 and overall. This
group opened up a 25 second lead over the rest of the field but
it soon came undone when the Lister coasted past the pits slowly
and far too quietly. Clint Field started from the pits in the Riley
& Scott as the crew busily replaced a differential following
a problem during the morning warm-up.
The GTS order is Kox
(Prodrive Ferrari), Bouchut (Larbre Viper) and Davies (Prodrive
Ferrari)—certainly a good start for the Chrysler. Surprisingly,
the 675 class is off the pace of the faster production cars. Their
early order was Field (Lola), Eyckmans, de Fournoux, Erdos.
Ortelli (Freisinger Porsche)
was the early GT leader and well clear of many slower prototypes.
Liddell (PK Porsche), Pompidou (Sebah Porsche), Mowlem (Seikel Porsche),
and Peter (Cirtek Ferrari) made for a very close bunch at the head
of GT. The T2M Porsche fell out of this group when Forgeois spun
into the gravel.
An excellent battle erupted
at the 20-minute mark between Bouchut’s Viper and the Kox
(no. 80) Ferrari. The 550 Maranello was barely able to hold off
the Larbre Viper. Up front the Courage of Sarrazin has steadily
been reeling in the Dome and the French driver passes into second
place on lap 13. Once clear, Sarrazin steadily pulls away.
Tom Kristensen pulled
out a nearly 20 second lead by lap 15. That has not been a surprise.
The pleasant surprises thus far have been the excellent battle for
second (Lammers close to Sarrazin) and the aggressive run of the
Viper in GTS. Bouchut retook the top spot from Kox at the half-hour
mark. Ortelli’s demon start with Freisinger car is a minor
upset while the Cirtek Ferrari’s poor start has been a disappointment.
5, Audi, Kristensen, 17 laps
2, Courage, Sarrazin, -22s
8, Dome, Lammers, -32s
7, Reynard, Goddard, -1 lap
80, Ferrari, Kox [retook GTS lead]
86, Viper, Bouchut, -5 s
9, Lola, Andrews
18, Lola, J. Field, 1st 675
88, Ferrari, Davies [going slowly now]
13, Courage, Eyckmans
25, WR, de Fournoux
39, Porsche, Ortelli, 1st GT
66, Saleen, Kaufmann
38, Porsche, Liddell, -15s behind Ortelli
The RML MG-Lola was up
to 16th after their first lap spin and the Intersport Riley &
Scott is 24th. The Debora stopped on course briefly, continued,
some 6 laps off the pace—so what else is new?
(no. 14 MG-Lola) was the first to make what appeared to be too early
for a scheduled stop. The Riley & Scott also made an early stop
had been misting badly on the Ecosse Ferrari, necessitating their
earlier stop. The team have opened some vents to increase the airflow.
The Lister broke its
right driveshaft while completing lap 7. “Such bad luck”
said Jamie Campbell-Walter. “All the dry running we’ve
done, then this happens in the wet . . . “ Nicolaus Springer
(jokingly) blamed Tom Coronel. “He’s always breaking
driveshafts in his BMW. He drove it last . . .”
The GTS battle
suffered an interruption when Bouchut spun the Viper, but he regained
his direction and composure, losing only seven seconds.
As from the 40-minute
mark the drivers began to look for wet lines as the rain stopped.
However, the slightly lifting skies remain quite overcast. A dry
line did begin to appear—enticingly.
The heroes of the first
hour?—besides the good battles mentioned previously, a fine
fourth place by Earl Goddard is of note. This was a good comeback
as father Fred noted that the car was behaving quite poorly during
the morning warm-up.
Near the end of the first
hour, the Field Lola and the Panoz touched while going under the
Dunlop Bridge with no apparent damage. Bouchut made up his deficit,
but perhaps of equal or more important note, the gap for the overall
lead has dropped to a mere five seconds—tires?
The one-hour mark was
still too early for regular stops, so the halts of Pompidou (no.
36 Sebah Porsche) and the no. 45 TVR (Stretton) were unscheduled.
Earl Goddard was the
first of the frontrunners to pit with the car covered in gravel
and other muck. It is unknown where he went off but the car is back
out without a change of tyes. Meanwhile, Kox has fallen well off
the pace, the Ferrari down to 13th overall. Also in trouble—the
Kaufmann Saleen made a long stop. The fine start of the Goddard
Reynard came to naught as the car was in making changes to the front
#5, Audi, Kristensen,
#2, Courage, Sarrazin, -5s
#8, Dome, Lammers, - 1 lap [stop at 1 hour point]
#86, Viper, Bouchut, 1st GTS
#18, Lola, Field, 1st 675
#88, Ferrari, Davies
#13, Courage, Eyckmans
#7, Reynard, Goddard
#39, Freisinger Porsche, Ortelli
#38, PK Porsche, Liddell
#33, Jubin Porsche, Noel
#24, WR, Porta
#47, Cirtek Ferrari, Peter
hour ended with Sarrazin stopping out of second place. It turned
out to be fuel only as the new set of wets standing by were not
mounted. Lammers did switch to inters., which looked like a good
No sign of the
Seikel Porsche getting under way after an early trip into the gravel.
Lister was still stationary at 1 hour. The Saleen is in its garage,
reason unknown for now.
at half way (three hours).