Peugeot remains the story through two-thirds distance at this year's 24H. The factory cars run 1-2, David Brabham in the ...
Peugeot remains the story through two-thirds distance at this year's 24H. The factory cars run 1-2, David Brabham in the #9 continuing to lead as that car has since around 9:00 p.m. last night, and the all-French driver lineup of the pole-sitting car #8 is second, one lap back.
At 6:58 a.m. the #9 has made its latest pit stop, Marc Gene ceding the car to Brabham with a full stop for both fuel and tires. For the moment this allows the #8 back on the lead lap, now driven by Franck Montagny, but that will change once this car makes its own stop.
"The stint was over three hours," Gene told radio coverage after his stint. "It was difficult at the end because I had visors and glasses for the night; it was extremely difficult but still okay. The first two laps after the SC were difficult, but after three laps it was okay. I hope both cars stay the same -- I hope we fight amongst ourselves."
At sunrise, no rain has hit the circuit just yet though there is still an above average chance of it occurring at some point. You have to wonder if this "will it, won't it rain" prospect is akin to FIA warnings about rain during Formula One events that is always only a few minutes off but never actually arrives.
But the miraculous story is that Benoit Treluyer is uninjured after what can only be described as a savage accident in the 4:00 a.m. hour, completely writing off the customer Peugeot 908 HDi FAP for Pescarolo Sport. The French driver is reported with no broken bones, confirmed after team owner Henri Pescarolo spoke with Treluyer while he was in hospital.
That accident caused the third safety car period of the race and an extended one at that, lasting more than half an hour. The race is green and resumed now as it is now past 7:00 a.m.
It must be said Treluyer is not a virgin of these devastating accidents where everyone and their dogs believed the worst had happened. At a 2007 Formula Nippon race at Suzuka, the 2006 series champion crashed heavily just past Spoon Curve and ripped his open-wheel chassis in half, the front half coming dislodged from the back.
Elsewhere, there was a bit of craziness in the P2 ranks, as both of the leading Porsche RS Spyders came in for repairs. The Goh entry came in for another front nose replacement, whilst the Essex car replaced the rear deck at the same time.
Essex still leads by three laps over Goh, with Kristian Poulsen and Keisuke Kunimoto the pilots right now. The Speedy Lola Judd Coupe still runs third in class, five laps behind Kunimoto with Jonny Kane at the wheel of the dark blue and metallic silver #33 car.
GT1 remains true to form, the factory Corvettes still on the same lap and a battle of the team's third drivers -- Marcel Fassler trails Antonio Garcia by a little under two minutes at the moment. The second Alphand Corvette is third, four laps behind, and the Jetalliance Aston is still running but many laps off the pace after a number of maladies to this point.
In GT2 the Lizard is no longer "Flying" -- the pole sitting #80 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR has had an incident with Le Mans rookie Darren Law driving. Law, having just taken over the car from team principal Seth Neiman at 5:25 a.m. local time, lost control in the brake zone at the first chicane ending with a heavy tire impact. It ends Law's chances of emulating Hurley Haywood as a winner in a Porsche on debut at Le Mans.
The GT2 leaderboard is all Ferrari F430 GTs, #82 Risi, the #97 BMS Scuderia Italia (on Pirelli tires), and the #92 JMW Motorsport entries. The Risi car has had transponder issues with its third driver so it is always a mystery which of its three pilots is in the car -- timing & scoring currently lists Jaime Melo -- while the chasers are Matteo Malucelli and Rob Bell, each is two laps behind Melo.