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FREISINGER PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS LEADS 24 HOURS OF LE MANS AFTER FOUR HOURS; PORSCHES HOLD TOP THREE POSITIONS IN GT AS HEAVY RAINS COME TO EIGHT-MILE COURSE --The German-prepared Freisinger Porsche 911 GT3 RS, third overall at this year's Rolex...

FREISINGER PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS LEADS 24 HOURS OF LE MANS AFTER FOUR HOURS; PORSCHES HOLD TOP THREE POSITIONS IN GT AS HEAVY RAINS COME TO EIGHT-MILE COURSE

--The German-prepared Freisinger Porsche 911 GT3 RS, third overall at this year's Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, holds a one-lap lead on the GT class field with American Gunnar Jeannette, Japanese driver R. Dumas, and Frenchman Ph. Haezebrouck sharing the driving duties--

LE MANS, France - June 15 - After being edged out for the pole by the Callaway C12-R, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS contingent has take charge early to hold the top three spots after four hours at the 69th Le Mans 24 hours.

The #77 Freisinger Porsche 911 GT3 RS, driven by Jeannette/Dumas/Haezebrouck, has run a perfect race so far, and leads the #83 Seikel Porsche 911 GT3 RS of Rosa/Bambini/Drudi by almost a lap. Gunnar Jeannette, at 19 years old the youngest driver on the course, is a feature pilot in the lead car, while the Seikel drivers won the Rolex 24 in 2000.

Third is the #74 Warmup Porsche 911 GT3 RS, with Luc Alphand/Michael Ligonnet/Luis Marques sharing the driving duties. Alphant, the Frenchman who is a three-time world champion downhill ski champion, has a lot of local fans watching at Le Mans.

With some last-minute engine timing problems, the Callaway started the race from pit road and caught the Porsches in the first hour of the event, but Corvette-powered racer needs more frequent fuel stops and does not handle as well in the rain, and fell to fourth place after four hours.

Heavy rain showers deluged the circuit only 12 minutes into the event, sending all the cars into the pits early for rain tires, and bringing out the pace car. In the first four hours, the rain brought out yellow flags and pace cars at least three other times, while drying conditions in-between the rain causing additional tire headaches.

The #82 Seikel Porsche with Tony Burgess at the helm was the first to go off on a drying track, but that was before the grid had even formed! Conditions have not improved since, and seven cars were involved in heavy incidents during the first four hours of the race.

The Freisinger Porsche, repaired on Saturday morning after Jeanette crashed heavily on Thursday night, led the Porsches of Chereau/Dumez/Goueslard and Rosa/Babini/Drudi at the end of lap one. By the end of the second lap Noel/Forgeois/Maury-Laribiere had taken third in class before the rain on lap four.

Positions were then changing minute by minute, as cars came in for either intermediate or full wet tires. By the time the safety car came in the track was drying; the order was Youles/Day/Warnock in the PK Sport Porsche, followed by Alphand/Ligonnet/Marques in the Perspective Racing Porsche.

Gunnar Jeannette, at 19 year-old American, is the youngest driver on the track, while Luc Alphand is a Frenchman who is a three-time world champion downhill skier.

Over the next hour the order amongst the leading Porsche runners fluctuated as regular pit-stops took place but as the first quarter of the race drew to a close torrential rain, thunder and lightning swept across the circuit, causing the safety car as the conditions were considered too wet to continue racing.

Gabrio Rosa has had an exciting time: "There was oil on several parts of the Mulsanne straight. I hit it, and the car twitched but fortunately I managed not to lose control".

This year's 24 Hours of Le Mans is already on the air, with Radio Le Mans (www.radiolemans.com) remaining live all day and all night through Sunday's race conclusion.

The Speedvision TV network's coverage of the race, featuring live, flag-to-flag coverage, will remain on the air for a post-race show on Sunday from 10:00 AM - 10:30 AM EST, followed by the classic racing movie "Le Mans."

The official Porsche web site - www.porsche.com - and is filing stories and photos covering all the Porsches entered during and after the race. Porsche web site users should choose "North America" on the home page when prompted to choose a country, then choose "motorsports," then "motorsport news" to find the ALMS updates.

Other web sites following the overall event include the official Le Mans site (www.lemans.org), the ON TRACK ONLINE site, (www.ontrackonline.com), The Race Site (www.theRaceSite.com), the Speedvision site (www.speedvision.com), Motorsport.com (www.motorsport.com) and the CompuServe site (www.motorsportsforum.com).

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IT'S ALL PORSCHES IN GT AT LE MANS AS CALLAWAY OVERHEATS; THE RAIN CONTINUES

--The #83 Seikel Porsche 911 GT3 RS has taken a commanding 2-lap lead over the GT field as the 24 Hours of Le Mans reaches its one-third juncture at a very rainy circuit-

LE MANS, France - June 17 - The rain keeps on going and so do the Porsches at Le Mans! Of all four categories, the LM GT class, dominated by Porsche 911 GT3-RS cars, has seen the least retirements in the atrocious weather conditions this year. The cars are still relatively close together, and the class is wide open.

Only one LM GT car has retired: the Spanish-entered #71 Racing Engineering car, driven by 14-times Le Mans veteran Robin Donovan and two rookies from Indiannapolis, TV producer Terry Linger and Chris MacAllister. Donovan spun at the end of the Hunaudières straight, and hit the rails, the car retiring soon afterwards.

The pole-sitting #70 Aspen Knolls Callaway C12-R was second in the class after six hours, but spent much of hour eight in the garage with overheating problems and has dropped out of the top ten.

The other Porsches are all still out on the track, surviving the rain remarkably well. The #83 Seikel car has led the category throughout the last three hours, with Luca Drudi carrying on as Fabio Babini left off. The car is now in 13th place overall.

"Its perfect," team boss Peter Seikel said. "The Babini/Drudi/Rosa car is still in first place, and running well. But I am also impressed with the second car, with the gentlemen drivers, which is in sixth place in the category. Especially Tony Burgess, who has been very fast; he really likes the rain."

Second in the class is the #77 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche. The team had a harder time during the past three hours, with a bad tire choice losing them some time.

"We just made a wrong tire choice that cost us a lot, but we'll get it back," Gunnar Jeannette said. "We're all still to plan, there are no real problems. I wasn't happy with the tires, the car was very difficult, so I asked for intermediate tires. But it was even worse, and I had a spin coming onto the pit straight. Young French driver Romain Dumas is now in the car. The track doesn't look so wet, but the water has really soaked in, and so the track is cold and its very hard to get the tires up to temperature," Jeannette concluded.

The #75 Perspective Racing Porsche is currently third, in the hands of Michel Neugarten. Le Mans rookie Nigel Smith took the car briefly out during the current atrocious conditions, but soon decided to hand the car back to the more experienced Michel.

"While its raining, I can"t get any heat into the tires, visibility is terrible, and at times I was having to follow the white lines. The car was aquaplaning, and I wasn't about to crash the car, so I came in," Nigel explained.

Fourth in the class is currently the #74 Luc Alphand Adventures Porsche, shared by former ski champion Luc Alphand, sportscar regular Michel Ligonnet and Luis Marques.

"Things were excellent earlier on; we were second behind Fabio Babini in the Seikel car," Michel Ligonnet explained. "I had an excellent stint in the only dry part of the race, and then my team-mate Luis had a good stint in the wet. But he got too confident, and spun coming out of the Ford chicane. He got some gravel into the fuel intake, and when he came in to refuel, it got stuck. We lost about three laps, but we've made our way back up from eighth to fourth. Luc Alphand is doing a good job, and I will take over soon - and I'm happy! This is my kind of racing, and although I don't exactly want it to rain, I don't dislike it either."

French team #80 Larbre Competition is fifth, after a trouble-free run for Sebastien Dumez.

"The drivers are currently doing single stints, as their stints are longer than usual because of the conditions. They are driving at their rhythm, and we have no problems," a team representative said.

Jean-Luc Chereau is currently in the car.

The #76 British PK Sport Porsche, which was running well at the time of the previous report, had a more problematic three hours.

"Mike Youles was running really well, but then he said it was as if a bucket of water had been emptied in front of him, and he aquaplaned off the track," team manager Mike Pickup said. "He hit the walls, and broke the middle radiator, so we had to replace it all, which lost us 40 minutes in total. We've repaired the car and sent it back out, with Mike doing another quick stint before handing over to Stephen Day. He's doing a double stint but he says the conditions are atrocious.

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24 Hours of Le Mans - GT Class Standings - After 9 Hours

#83 Rosa/Bambini/Drudi Porsche 911 GT3 RS 110 Laps

#77 Jeannette/Dumas/Haezebrouck Porsche 911 GT3 RS 108 laps

#75 Perrier/Neugarten/Smith Porsche 911 GT3 RS 107 laps

#74 Alphand/Ligonnet/Marques Porsche 911 GT3 RS 106 laps

#80 Chereau/Gouselard/Dumez Porsche 911 GT3 RS 106 laps

#82 Burgess/Cohen-Olivar/Bagnall Porsche 911 GT3 RS 106 laps

#76 Youles/Day/Warnock Porsche 911 GT3 RS 105 laps

#72 Fukuyama/Yogo/Nishizawa Porsche 911 GT3 RS 102 laps

#79 Noel/Forgeois/Jodexnis Porsche 911 GT3 RS 101 laps

#70 Wagner/Rice/Mazzuoccola Callaway C12-R V8 90 laps

#71 Lingner/McAllister/Donovan Porsche 911 GT3 RS Crash

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PORSCHE ASSURED SWEEP OF GT PODIUM AT LE MANS AS CALLAWAY RETIRES; MOON IS OUT AND RAIN HAS STOPPED AS LE MANS REACHES HALFWAY POINT

LE MANS, France - June 17 -- Porsche will fill the top places at Le Mans after the official retirement of the Callaway C12-R with a suspected engine failure. The track is drying out and the expected storms have not yet materialized.

Porsche teams are running into problems of a different kind, however, with windshield wipers lifting off the screen at speed.

"It happens at 260km/h (160mph) on the dot," said PK Sport's Mike Youles. "You watch the speed go up on the Mulsanne and exactly at that speed the wiper lifts off and waves around like a conductor's baton. I was thinking of putting a glove on the end and we can wave at all the marshals as we go by!"

The #76 Porsche 911 GT3 RS was the unlikely leader early on after the pole-sitting Callaway started from the pitlane and the race was thrown into chaos by the fickle weather. Youles was on board when he had a big accident that wrecked the front of his Porsche.

"I got to the first chicane at Mulsanne and braked at the same place as usual but there was standing water and I went off," said Youles. "It was 286km/h (178mph), certainly the fastest accident that I have ever had. The front end is all bolt on stuff so the team was able to fix it faster than they normally would. Then Stephen hit another car, so we are just racing for fun, now."

The #83 Seikel Motorsport Porsche of Gabrio Rosa, Fabio Babini and Luca Drudi still leads the category, but only one lap ahead of the Freisinger Porsche of Jeanette/Dumas/Haezebrouck. Gabrio Rosa spun the car on a slick section of the track near the Ford chicane and was stuck in the gravel - losing a lap right at the 12-hour mark.

The #74 Luc Alphand Adventures Porsche lies in third, driven by Alphand, Luiz Marques and Michel Ligonnet, while the #80 Larbre team Porsche of Patrice Goueslard, Sebastian Dumez and Jean-Luc Chereau in fourth.

This year's 24 Hours of Le Mans is being broadcast with live audio on the Internet, with Radio Le Mans (www.radiolemans.com) providing the commentary.

The Speedvision TV network's coverage of the race, featuring live, flag-to-flag coverage, will remain on the air for a post-race show on Sunday from 10:00 AM - 10:30 AM EST, followed by the classic racing movie "Le Mans."

The official Porsche web site - www.porsche.com - and is filing stories and photos covering all the Porsches entered during and after the race. Porsche web site users should choose "North America" on the home page when prompted to choose a country, then choose "motorsports," then "motorsport news" to find the ALMS updates.

Other web sites following the overall event include the official Le Mans site (www.lemans.org), the ON TRACK ONLINE site, (www.ontrackonline.com), The Race Site (www.theRaceSite.com), the Speedvision site (www.speedvision.com), Motorsport.com (www.motorsport.com) and the CompuServe site (www.motorsportsforum.com).

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24 Hours of Le Mans - GT Class Standings - After 12 Hours

#83 Rosa/Bambini/Drudi Porsche 911 GT3 RS 139 Laps

#77 Jeannette/Dumas/Haezebrouck Porsche 911 GT3 RS 138 laps

#74 Alphand/Ligonnet/Marques Porsche 911 GT3 RS 137 laps

#80 Chereau/Gouselard/Dumez Porsche 911 GT3 RS 135 laps

#75 Perrier/Neugarten/Smith Porsche 911 GT3 RS 135 laps

#82 Burgess/Cohen-Olivar/Bagnall Porsche 911 GT3 RS 133 laps

#72 Fukuyama/Yogo/Nishizawa Porsche 911 GT3 RS 131 laps

#79 Noel/Forgeois/Jodexnis Porsche 911 GT3 RS 128 laps

#76 Youles/Day/Warnock Porsche 911 GT3 RS 125 laps

#70 Wagner/Rice/Mazzuoccola Callaway C12-R V8 Engine/overheating

#71 Lingner/McAllister/Donovan Porsche 911 GT3 RS Crash

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FREISINGER MOTORSPORT PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS TAKES GT LEAD AT LE MANS - 9 HRS. TO GO

LE MANS, France - June 17 - Losing two laps to repair a radiator damaged in a spin at the 12th hour, the #83 Seikel Porsche 911 GT3 RS has lost the lead to the #77 Freisinger Porsche 911 GT3 RS with only nine hours to go at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Now in second place is the #74 Warmup Alphand Adventures Porsche, with the Seikel car now third.

With dry conditions and daylight dawning at the track, the pace is likely to pick up before the end of the race. The top four GT Porsches are only three laps apart.

This year's 24 Hours of Le Mans is being broadcast with live audio on the Internet, with Radio Le Mans (www.radiolemans.com) providing the commentary.

The Speedvision TV network's coverage of the race, featuring live, flag-to-flag coverage, will remain on the air for a post-race show on Sunday from 10:00 AM - 10:30 AM EST, followed by the classic racing movie "Le Mans."

The official Porsche web site - www.porsche.com - and is filing stories and photos covering all the Porsches entered during and after the race. Porsche web site users should choose "North America" on the home page when prompted to choose a country, then choose "motorsports," then "motorsport news" to find the ALMS updates.

Other web sites following the overall event include the official Le Mans site (www.lemans.org), the ON TRACK ONLINE site, (www.ontrackonline.com), The Race Site (www.theRaceSite.com), the Speedvision site (www.speedvision.com), Motorsport.com (www.motorsport.com) and the CompuServe site (www.motorsportsforum.com).

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24 Hours of Le Mans - GT Class Standings - After 15 Hours

#77 Jeannette/Dumas/Haezebrouck Porsche 911 GT3 RS 165 laps

#74 Alphand/Ligonnet/Marques Porsche 911 GT3 RS 164 laps

#83 Rosa/Bambini/Drudi Porsche 911 GT3 RS 164 Laps

#80 Chereau/Gouselard/Dumez Porsche 911 GT3 RS 162 laps

#75 Perrier/Neugarten/Smith Porsche 911 GT3 RS 161 laps

#82 Burgess/Cohen-Olivar/Bagnall Porsche 911 GT3 RS 161 laps

#72 Fukuyama/Yogo/Nishizawa Porsche 911 GT3 RS 159 laps

#76 Youles/Day/Warnock Porsche 911 GT3 RS 151 laps

#79 Noel/Forgeois/Jodexnis Porsche 911 GT3 RS 145 laps

#70 Wagner/Rice/Mazzuoccola Callaway C12-R V8 Engine/overheating

#71 Lingner/McAllister/Donovan Porsche 911 GT3 RS Crash

-Porsche

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