Chrysler Vipers Maintain 1-2-3 Through the Night

Le Mans, June 18, 2000, at 08.00 - Chrysler Viper Team ORECA has maintained its dominant position at the head of the GTS field and has broken into the top ten overall with eight hours remaining. The three cars were running eighth, ninth and 11th...

Le Mans, June 18, 2000, at 08.00 - Chrysler Viper Team ORECA has maintained its dominant position at the head of the GTS field and has broken into the top ten overall with eight hours remaining. The three cars were running eighth, ninth and 11th positions overall.

The number 53 Chrysler Viper GTS R/T of Ni Amorim, David Donohue and Anthony Beltoise, had a brake bleed at 5:30am. "It was not a big problem, we did this as a precaution," said ORECA Sporting Director Pierre Dieudonné. Amorim was later involved in a collision with a GT3 Porsche, and a quick pit stop to repair superficial damage was necessary.

The customer teams have enjoyed mixed fortunes during the night. The Chamberlain-run Chrysler Viper GTS R/T has yet to have its gearbox changed despite the drivers still experiencing difficulties selecting gears. The team lost nearly an hour at 1am changing part of the ignition system, a wiring fault causing a misfire.

The Paul Belmondo-run Chrysler Viper GTS R/T of Jean-Claude Lagniez, Guy Martinolle and Boris Derichebourg has retired from the race with a blown engine. "We had been experiencing problems from the first hour," said Jean-Claude Lagniez. The drivers had been experiencing gearbox problems and were unable to select fourth gear. "We are still able to lap in 4m 10s so we will keep going until we have some real problem with it," said Belmondo.

The Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS R/T of David Hart, Mike Hezemans and Hans Hugenholtz is running trouble free, though the team is expecting to complete its third brake change later this morning. "We changed discs and pads last night and just pads during the night," said Hugenholtz. "We will have a look at it but I think that we will have to do another disc and pad change."

Lou Patane, Vice President DaimlerChrysler, President Mopar Motorsport Operations and Mopar Performance Parts, commented: "The gearbox is based on a production car. Each car is going to make more than 10,000 gear changes during this race, and the gearboxes weren't originally designed to do that.

"The three cars have spent the same amount of time in the pits, to within two minutes of each other, which is an incredible show of reliability."

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Series LEMANS