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Audis attack, falter in the wee hours

Audi's attack on the leading Bentleys continued to falter during the night as the Team Goh R8 was unexpectedly rushed into the garage for emergency repairs after Jan Magnussen spun it off the circuit. At the front, meanwhile, Kristensen set a ...

Audis attack, falter in the wee hours

Audi's attack on the leading Bentleys continued to falter during the night as the Team Goh R8 was unexpectedly rushed into the garage for emergency repairs after Jan Magnussen spun it off the circuit. At the front, meanwhile, Kristensen set a blistering pace while building a lead over the recovering #8 Bentley.

The flying Jan Lammers in his Dome Judd, having passed Beretta and made a pit stop, set about building out a lead over the pursuing Courage of Gounon, Panoz of Beretta and Courage of Helary. He was lapping several seconds per lap slower than the leading four cars, who were three laps ahead, so looked unlikely to take third place unless one of the Bentleys or remaining Audis suffers a problem.

The JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena of Fabrizio de Simone spun off into the gravel at Ralentisseur Michelin but the car was quickly recovered and returned to the circuit by the marshals.

The leading Bentley pitted on lap 146 for fuel, tyres and a new driver. Some light damage to the front wing was taped up while the engine cover was taken off to make a slight modification was made to the car. Tom Kristensen pulled away from the pit lane after the relatively long 1 minute 40 second stop although he still had a 29 second lead over David Brabham in second place.

The Alex Job Racing Porsche 911GT3 entered the pit lane with water pouring from the front of the car. Lucas Luhr was pushed back into garage and the mechanics set to work repairing the damage. During this time the car lost its lead in the LM GT class to the Team Taisan Advan of Kazuyuki Nishizawa.

Kristensen set about extending his lead as David Brabham has closed to within 30 seconds, even pulling out a sub 3 minutes 40 second lap to gain a few extra seconds. Brabham failed to respond this challenge and instead put in a series of relatively slow laps. Kristensen continued at speed and set the fastest lap of the race on lap 156 with a 3m 36.135 lap

Magnussen pitted unexpectedly on lap 150 in his Team Goh Audi R8. Marco Werner jumped into the cockpit but the car was immediately swivelled round 90 degrees to the right and pushed straight into the garage. Mechanics swarmed round the front of the car to repair the problem. The car returned to the track 8 minutes 53 seconds later, pulling out just behind the #8 Bentley of Brabham that had stopped for fuel.

The PK Sport car of David Warnock was pushed into the garage with serious damage to the front right hand side of the car around the wheel area.

The closest battle on track was for sixth place with the JML Team Panoz Evo of Max Papis three seconds ahead of the Pescarolo Courage Peugeuot of Stephan Gregoire.

At 2am the Bentley of Kristensen was 2 minutes ahead of Brabham with the Champion Racing Audi R8 a further 2 minutes 40 seconds behind.

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