1000 Km – Hour 6
17.20…and it’s getting very gloomy. No significant changes
in 900 and GTS, but in 675 the Intersport car has just lost ground
(and had a battery change, and a bodywork change after contact from
a GT car) to the Courage, which has had an amazing run – even
more so bearing in mind its performance in June.
So GT is the
thriller. “Jean-Philippe has got to push,” said a worried
looking R. Liddell - talking to Mike Pickup, above. But that was
before the Cirtek Ferrari pitted for the last time, and before Vassiliev
pitted to hand over to Daoudi.
Once those changes had
filtered in, we were left with (at 35 minutes to go):
Belloc 169 laps
Daoudi – 56 seconds
Montermini – 3 secs.
The Ferrari then passed
the Freisinger Porsche, but Daoudi looked like fighting back. When
did we last have an ACO GT race like this? What about Le Mans two
This time it’s
Pickup’s PK Sport, and the Schirle-managed Baron Engelhorn
Ferrari, with Manfred Freisinger playing the big gun. Not so big
though, because Montermini has left the Freisinger Porsche behind,
but Belloc is too far up the road (+- 50 seconds).
The Debora becomes the
fourth (yes, that’s all) retirement of the day: R&S, MG-Lola,
XL Ferrari 550. The Panoz didn’t expire with alternator trouble:
instead the team fixed it and got her out again.
The gaps are extending,
if anything, in the bulk of the field, so we’re right to focus
on the GT affair. 20 minutes left, Mike Pickup is chewing his lips
to shreds, but barring the unforeseen, this should be PK’s
finest hour so far.
A wider perspective
would be that Manfred F. will be delighted to have Alex Vassiliev
on the podium here, which after all is good enough to win that Le
Mans entry – and it might have helped to secure Yukos sponsorship
for PK – another puncture, with just 15 minutes left. Who
wrote about PK’s finest hour? What idiot wrote that?
PK dropped to third,
so can (does he need to?) Daoudi catch the black Ferrari of Montermini?
The key moments in this GT race have been Liddell leading when the
safety car came out, gaining almost a lap on the chasers….and
then two punctures. Perhaps third place will still see a Pickup
smile, but lots of frustration too.
dark here, so with just 12 minutes left (and 200 laps on the board),
it looks as though the Audi R8 will complete 207 or 208 laps. That
should be four ahead of Pescarolo’s Courage, five ahead of
the Dome (no guaranteed Le Mans entry for Jan Lammers), then the
excellent Courage 675 performance, and the two Veloqx Care Racing
Ferraris, split by Ian Dawson’s Taurus Lola. Eighth and ninth
should be Duncan Dayton and then the Viper, and tenth the GT winner….with
the Ferrari firmly 13 seconds ahead of Freisinger.
Courage and Intersport
will receive the two 675 places next June: this class has finally
seen a genuine class race at Le Mans, among top class cars.
finished the race with a long brake pedal, and Graham Tyler passes
on the information that the Dome was causing grief for Mr Wallace
during a three hour stint - a very stiff throttle. Not what you
want in a race of such tricky conditions anyway.
Well done Mr
Kazumichi Goh, Tom Kristensen and Seiji Ara: six out of eight here
for TK. Blimey. The man is a god.
With thnks to
the dsc team here - Mark Howson, Janos Wimpffen, David Lord, Joost
Custers and Johannes Gauglica.