Ayari crashes #17 Pescarolo in 24H

The fifth-placed #17 Pescarolo of Sohail Ayari had a big accident on lap 287 of Le Mans 24 Hours. He caught a bump in the Dunlop chicane, clipped a kerb and spun sideways into the tyre barrier.

#17 Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd: S?bastien Loeb, ?ric H?lary, Soheil Ayari.
Photo by Tom Haapanen.

The rear wing of the car was ripped off, the bodywork was loosened, and the steering and suspension were damage as Ayari had to limp around nearly a complete lap in order to get back to the pits. The car was inevitably turned round and pushed backwards into the garage.

The car was still in the garage after 30 minutes and the team decided to retire from the event. Fifth place was inherited by the Team Jota/Zytek Engineering of John Stack who was eight laps behind the Audi Playstation Team Oreca R8 of Stephane Ortelli.

Elsewhere on the circuit the #59 Aston Martin of Stephane Sarrazin was the latest driver to pick up a left-rear puncture. The damage occurred in the final third of lap 272 so fortunately Sarrazin did not have a great distance to drive to get back to the pitlane and rejoined the circuit very quickly.

At the same the Cirtek Motorsport of Stefan Eriksson pulled off the circuit at the exit of Tertre Rouge with the left rear wheel detached from the car and parked up against the armco a few hundred metres further down the circuit.

The sixth-placed Team Jota / Zytek Engineering driven by Sam Hignett was pulled into the garage and the engine cover was removed for a quick inspect but the car rejoined in under three minutes.

The #78 Panoz Motor Sports Esperante Elan of Marino Franchitti, running in tenth place in the GT2 class, pulled off the circuit at the entrance to Indianapolis on lap 185 and was pushed away by marshals.

At the front of the field Marco Werner in the Champion Racing Audi R8 held a constant one and a half lap lead over the Pescarolo Sport Judd of Emmanuel Collard with the sister Champion Racing of Emanuele Pirro three laps behind in third.