Le Mans, June 17, 2000, at 20.00 - Reigning Le Mans champions Karl Wendlinger, Olivier Beretta and Dominique Dupuy led the GTS class shortly before the four-hour mark of this year's Le Mans 24-hours and Beretta reported that the car is "very good, running like clockwork."
The lead was lost to the sister car of Marc Duez when drivers lost time during the last pit stop securing the seat-belts as Beretta handed to Dominique Dupuy. "It took a long time to get everything connected, I don't know what happened," said the Monegasque.
The number 51 Chrysler Viper had earlier taken advantage of an early Safety Car period to re-fuel the car twice. "It is a strategy that appears to be working at the moment," said ORECA Team Director Hugues de Chaunac.
The number 53 Chrysler Viper of David Donohue, Ni Amorim and Anthony Beltoise, currently lies fifth in class after a trouble-free opening stint.
Hugh Chamberlain's Team Goh Chrysler Viper is running trouble free. Driver Walter Brun reported that "this is the best Viper that I have ever driven." Earlier, fellow Swiss Toni Seiler pitted early due to a vibration at the rear of the car. The tyres were changed and Christian Glaesel took over the driving, reporting that the problem had been fixed. Since then, the car has run trouble free.
Paul Belmondo Racing's Chrysler Viper of Boris Derichebourg, Jean-Claude Lagniez and Guy Martinolle lost six laps when the rev limiter refused to switch itself off. "Two wires were touching and we lost six laps," said team principal Paul Belmondo. "The car is OK now."
The Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper of Hans Hugenholtz, Mike Hezemans and David Hart used their first set of tyres too long and lost time, Hugenholtz forced to pit early as he struggled to keep the car on the road on old tyres. The drivers are planning to double-stint on the same set of tyres during the night, when the 60-degree celcius cockpit temperatures will also fall to manageable levels.