Teams scramble as rain hits Le Mans

With 13 hours and 20 minutes complete, rain has hit Circuit de La Sarthe earlier than expected, sending teams scrambling up and down pit road. Race leader Jacques Villeneuve in the No. 7 Team Peugeot Total 908 HDi-FAP pitted on lap 221 for wet ...

With 13 hours and 20 minutes complete, rain has hit Circuit de La Sarthe earlier than expected, sending teams scrambling up and down pit road. Race leader Jacques Villeneuve in the No. 7 Team Peugeot Total 908 HDi-FAP pitted on lap 221 for wet weather Michelin tires, while some of his teammates opted for intermediates that quickly came back to haunt them.

The second-placed No. 2 Audi Sport Team Joest R10 TDI of Dindo Capello as well as Alexandre Premat's No. 3 crew opted for full wet tires, like Villeneuve. However, both the No. 8 and No. 9 Peugeots originally took on intermediate tires, forcing both cars to come back in a few laps later for wets.

On top of the rain game, it hasn't been a good hour for the French Lions. Both the No. 8 and No. 7 cars were wheeled to the garage for service - apparently adding dry ice to the cars to prevent overheating. Each procedure took around 45 seconds, not costing either car too much time on track. However, when Villeneuve came back out, he lost the lead to Capello, but quickly took it back on his out lap.

As the rain began to hit, chaos erupted. The No. 5 Team Oreca Matmut Courage-Oreca LC70 Judd of Soheil Ayari spun on the entrance to the front straight, creating a hazard for all drivers. Laps before, the car was in the garage with gearbox problems. Xavier Pompidou crashed his No. 33 Speedy Racing Team Sebah Lola B08/80 in the rain, limping back to the pits with heavy front nose damage.

In LM P2, there has been drama on top of the rain, as the No. 34 Van Merksteijn Motorsport Porsche RS Spyder visited the garage with the Dutch team working on the undertray. The other Porsche of Team Essex has run into engine problems. However, Jos Verstappen has taken the Dutch RS Spyder back out, on full wets, and continues to lead.

In LM GT1, Antonio Garcia leads the way aboard the No. 009 Aston Martin Racing DBR9, with Jamie Melo at the helm of the LM GT2 class-leading No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT.

The circuit is now fully wet, with the front-runners lapping the 8.5-mile course in mid four-minute laps. Who knows what next hour will bring.

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Jos Verstappen , Jacques Villeneuve , Antonio Garcia , Xavier Pompidou , Soheil Ayari , Alexandre Prémat , Dindo Capello
Teams Audi Sport Team Joest , Risi Competizione