Jarama, Spain, Sunday 20th May 2001: A large crowd in excess of 19,000 made the trip to the Jarama circuit near the Spanish capital city of Madrid, taking the final opportunity to see the cars that will compete at the Le Mans 24-hour classic next...
Jarama, Spain, Sunday 20th May 2001: A large crowd in excess of 19,000 made the trip to the Jarama circuit near the Spanish capital city of Madrid, taking the final opportunity to see the cars that will compete at the Le Mans 24-hour classic next month.
Twenty-one cars in four classes lined up on the grid for round 2 of the 2001 European Le Mans Series. The weather at the start of the race was cloudy but warm, with an air temperature of 23 degrees Celsius. The threat of a storm during the two hour forty-five minute race failed to materialise and Tom Kristensen took another convincing Audi victory in brilliant sunshine.
The Spanish fans were treated to a race full of dramas. At the first corner pole position holder Rinaldo Capello ran wide, allowing teammate Emanuele Pirro to take the lead. Jan Magnussen in the Panoz LMP07 gave the team a glimmer of hope for a better race when he also took advantage to move from 4th into 2nd on the exit of the first turn. However, he ended up with two wheels on the grass after fighting with the recovering Capello. Stefan Johansson in the third Audi R8 also received his 3rd place grid position from the struggling Magnussen. Capello then lost his place to Johansson as he was unsighted by a back marker. A stop go penalty for overtaking under yellow flags for the leading Audi promoted the Gulf sponsored Johansson into the lead, which he held for over an hour until a brake calliper failure put his car in the gravel at the end of start-finish straight. He recovered the car to the pits where the team worked hard to repair the stricken machine and return it to the track. Guy Smith brought the car home in 4th place, nine laps down. Tom Kristensen took over the lead Audi and took the chequered flag 40 seconds ahead of Frank Biela in the Number 2 car
Didier De Radigues and Eric Van De Poele in the Dick Barbour Racing Judd powered Reynard had a day to remember as they drove to a convincing victory in the 675 prototype class and 3rd place overall. Franz Konrad, Toni Seiler and Walter Brun won the GTS class after the RML entered Saleen S7R retired with an engine oil leak.
A BMW 1-2 in the GT class gave the German marque its first victory in the European Le Mans Series, with Fredrik Ekblom and Dirk Muller converting the pole position they earned yesterday into victory. However, they didn't have it all their own way, with their teammates taking the lead on the opening lap of the race and the Alex Job Racing Porsches keeping them both on their toes for the entire race. An enthralling battle ensued as the top three GT cars all finished on the same lap after nearly three hours of top class racing.
The next round of the European Le Mans Series takes place in Portugal at the Estoril circuit near Lisbon on July 15th.