Leaders push hard as daylight returns

Leaders push hard as daylight returns

The pace at the front of Le Mans 24 Hours began to heat up in the fifteenth and sixteenth hours and there were many spins and incidents further down the field. Audi continued their domination of the event with the ...

The pace at the front of Le Mans 24 Hours began to heat up in the fifteenth and sixteenth hours and there were many spins and incidents further down the field. Audi continued their domination of the event with the #2 and #1 Audi Sport North America TDI cars running first and second respectively.

#2 Audi Sport North America Audi R10: Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen, Rinaldo Capello.
Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt.

Allan McNish continued to push the leading #2 Audi extremely hard and was regularly lapping within tenths of a second of the fastest lap of the race as he maintained a two lap lead over Frank Biela in the #1 Audi who was running a few seconds slower.

Emmanuel Collard had an accident on his first lap after a pit stop as the #16 Pescarolo Sport Judd 01 twitched, spun round across the circuit and clipped the barrier on the inside. Collard was able to get back to the pits so that the team could work on the left rear of the car, and he soon rejoined but his stop promoted the #8 Peugeot of Bourdais to fourth place.

The two Peugeot cars started pushing hard too with Minassian, in third place at the wheel of the #7 car, and Bourdais behind him both setting personal fastest laps of the race and lapping at the same pace as the leading Audis.

Darren Turner in the #009 Team Aston Martin Racing DBR9 closed the gap on the leading #007 Aston Martin of Tomas Enge to fifteen seconds by setting fastest laps, although Enge responded and pulled the gap back out to twenty seconds. The #007 Aston Martin suddenly dropped back and soon pitted for a new front splitter, handing the lead to the #009 car.

Andrew Kirkaldy had a quick spin at the exit of the final corner in the #87 Team Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari F430 GTC while running in second place in the LMGT2 class and chasing the leader Jaime Melo in the #97 Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 GT.

Melo then spun on some oil and damaged the front of the #97 Ferrari that caused a leak in a radiator requiring it to be changed. The competitiveness of the LMGT2 class meant that he dropped out of contention during his long stop.

Adrian Fernandez spun the #33 Team Barazi Epsilon Zytek 07S/2 at the Dunlop Chicane and briefly got stuck in the gravel before being able to rejoin, and a few laps later Michael Vergers spun the sister #32 Team Barazi car at the Michelin chicane.

Liz Halliday had a quick spin at Indianapolis in the #24 Noel Del Bello Courage-AER LC75 but was able to rejoin the race after a pit stop to check over the car, although she returned to the garage soon afterwards for further work on the car.

The #12 Courage Competition AER LC70 of Alexander Frei toured back to the pits with a left-rear puncture and the flapping rubber caused a significant amount of damage to the left-rear section of the car which required a long stop to resolve.

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Series LEMANS