Bentley hour four report

Le Mans, 16TH June 2001, 9.40 pm... The Number 7 Bentley EXP Speed 8 prototype has retired from the race after becoming stranded with gear selection problems at the Porsche Curves on lap 56. The car, crewed by Martin Brundle, Stephane Ortelli and...

Le Mans, 16TH June 2001, 9.40 pm... The Number 7 Bentley EXP Speed 8 prototype has retired from the race after becoming stranded with gear selection problems at the Porsche Curves on lap 56. The car, crewed by Martin Brundle, Stephane Ortelli and Guy Smith, had led the race in the first hour, but coasted to a halt at 8.45pm with Guy at the wheel.

Every effort was made to get the Bentley back to the pits under its own power, but after Guy spent 50 minutes working on the car, it became clear that its race was run.

GUY SMITH: `At Indianapolis the car wouldn't change out of sixth and it wasn't possible to get around Arnage without slipping the clutch. Eventually the car stalled so I tried to get it back to the pits on the starter motor until I had white smoke in the cockpit and had to pull off. I am utterly gutted not just for myself, but also for my pit crew and team-mates who put so much effort into getting us here and deserved to come away with rather better than this.'

JOHN WICKHAM, team manager: `Obviously we're disappointed but we will now concentrate all our efforts on number 8 which is running well with Butch putting in quick times.'

BRIAN GUSH: `We didn't give up until we'd tried everything to get the car back. Had we done so we believe we could have fixed it. But this is Le Mans and that's motor-racing.'

MARTIN BRUNDLE: `It is bitterly disappointing for us all. I have been thinking about what the original Bentley Boys would go and do now and I think I'm going to follow their example'

-Bentley

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Guy Smith , Martin Brundle , Stéphane Ortelli