Violent incident puts field under caution at Monza

The safety was deployed at Monza on lap 147 following a violent accident by Stephane Ortelli in the no. 5 Team Oreca Matmut Courage-Oreca LC70 in the Le Mans Series race. The car suffered an apparent mechanical failure, snapping sideways on the ...

The safety was deployed at Monza on lap 147 following a violent accident by Stephane Ortelli in the no. 5 Team Oreca Matmut Courage-Oreca LC70 in the Le Mans Series race. The car suffered an apparent mechanical failure, snapping sideways on the high-speed front straight. It then became airborne, cartwheeling over the No. 1 Audi of Allan McNish and rolling a total of seven times into the guardrail fence. The car is destroyed, with the engine and undertray ripping from the French-built chassis. The cars continue circulating under yellow while medical crews attend to Ortelli.

With 150 laps complete, the No. 2 Audi Sport Team Joest R10 TDI of Mike Rockenfeller now leads the race under the safety car, just ahead of the No. 8 Team Peugeot Total 908 HDi FAP of Pedro Lamy. This caution has effectively equalized the two diesel contenders, as before the Peugeot appeared to have the edge.

The 908 HDi FAP of Sarrazin held a one-lap advantage over the No. 2 Audi Sport Team Joest R10 TDI of Mike Rockenfeller before pitting on lap 135 and handing over to Lamy. Rockenfeller made his stop shortly after.

"We are pushing quite a lot," Alexandre Premat said after his stint. "I think its good for now. We have to improve, because we're pushing a lot. We have to be very realistic. But if we always finish second, and one car doesn't always win, we can win the championship."

The Creation CA07 AIM of Robbie Kerr, Bruce Jouanny and Stuart Hall are in a rather surprising third place overall, five laps back on the leaders. The British team has taken advantage of attrition in the LM P1 category, as a number of other cars have fallen out of contention.

The third-placed No. 16 Pescarolo Sport Judd of Emmanuel Collard suffered an off in the first chicane, bringing their day to an end. However this incident paled in comparison to Ortelli's off.

The problems for Collard put the Creation in podium contention, with the sister No. 17 Pescarolo Sport Judd of Harold Primat and Christophe Tinseau in fourth. Rollcentre Racing's Pescarolo runs fifth in-class, with the second Audi and Peugeots all the way up to eighth and ninth overall.

LM P2 is paced by the Team Essex Porsche RS Spyder of John Neilsen and Casper Elgaard, ahead of the Saulnier Racing Pescarolo Judd of Pierre Ragues and Matthieu Lahaye. The Van Merksteijn Motorsport Porsche has recovered to third, passing the No. 46 Embassy Racing WF01 Zytek moments before the caution.

Horag Racing was in contention for the win but Didier Theys beached his Porsche RS Spyder, dropping down to fifth in class.

The battle for LM GT1 honors is fiercely fought between the No. 72 Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R and the Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9. Tomas Enge currently leads, ahead of Olivier Beretta.

In LM GT2, the No. 76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 997 GT3 RSR of Raymond Narac and Richard Lietz leads the way, with the two Farnbacher Racing entries in second and third.

The field gets the green flag with 20 laps remaining. An update on Ortelli's condition will be forthcoming.

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Bruce Jouanny , Tomas Enge , Allan McNish , Didier Theys , Emmanuel Collard , Pedro Lamy , Stéphane Ortelli , Robbie Kerr , Harold Primat , Olivier Beretta , Alexandre Prémat , Mike Rockenfeller , Casper Elgaard , Stuart Hall , Raymond Narac , Matthieu Lahaye , Richard Lietz
Teams Audi Sport Team Joest , IMSA Performance Matmut