At the end of the first hour in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a factory Peugeot 908 HDi FAP leads overall but the story is really about two of the other three cars. Franck Montagny leads but his teammate Pedro Lamy in the ...
At the end of the first hour in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a factory Peugeot 908 HDi FAP leads overall but the story is really about two of the other three cars. Franck Montagny leads but his teammate Pedro Lamy in the #7 Peugeot is currently in the garage after an inexplicable pit lane incident.
As Lamy was exiting his stall from a first stop, the customer #17 Pescarolo Peugeot driven by Jean-Christophe Boullion contacted Lamy's left rear.
The team did not call Lamy in or stop him from leaving the pit, and the Portuguese driver completed an entire lap of the 8.4 mile circuit while disintegrating the left rear bodywork at a fairly high rate of speed. As he returned to the track, he left significant levels of debris that warranted a safety car period.
As the tire shredded, it annihilated the left rear of the car. Extensive repairs will be needed as the car suffered significant damage, right near the suspension.
The Pescarolo Peugeot had only minor right front bodywork damage and continued on, Boullion still at the wheel.
Prior to the incident the Peugeots had run a quicker pace than the Audis and streaked away from the R15 TDIs, Allan McNish in the lead #1 falling back.
The first hour was not clean for Audi either. Alexandre Premat, likely a result of driver error, went straight on at Indianapolis corner and beached his #3 Audi. The car returned to the pits after some delay with some bodywork damage but again nothing substantive.
Their customer team had issues as well, the #14 Kolles Audi R10 TDI had to have a driver change even before the race began. Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan suffered a freak incident, dislocating his shoulder while climbing over a pit wall on the way to the grid, and ex-Formula Atlantic champion Charles Zwolsman wound up starting the car.
P2 and GT1 were fairly straightforward battles. In P2, the two Porsche RS Spyders from Team Essex and Navi Team Goh raced amongst themselves. Emmanuel Collard and Seiji Ara are the pilots currently of cars #31 and #5, respectively. The Quifel-ASM team made an early stop and fell back, while the KSM Lola pitted after the race's first lap to tighten an oil pipe in the rear of the car.
GT1 has had the two Corvette Racing entries 1-2, pole sitter Jan Magnussen ahead of Oliver Gavin. Both the #66 Jetalliance Racing GMBH Aston Martin DBR9 and the #68 JLOC Lamborghini Murcielago went to the pits, a back end problem reported for the Aston and a hose issue for the Lambo. If either car is retired, which is a distinct possibility, it will trim the class back to four cars currently running.
GT2 has had an intense battle between the #82 Risi Ferrari F430 GT and three Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs. The #77 Felbermayr-Proton, #76 IMSA Performance Matmut and #80 Flying Lizard Motorsports entries, all stacked behind Jaime Melo in the Ferrari, could have been covered by a blanket within the first hour.
It was an intense battle as they were never separated by more than a few seconds, even as they were being lapped by the prototypes.