Bentley leads the way into darkness

Bentley held on to their strong lead at Le Mans as the headlights came on and darkness fell over the circuit at La Sarthe. Audi remained in third and fourth with Emanuele Pirro and Seiji Ara respectively, with the Dome Judd of John Bosche running...

Bentley held on to their strong lead at Le Mans as the headlights came on and darkness fell over the circuit at La Sarthe. Audi remained in third and fourth with Emanuele Pirro and Seiji Ara respectively, with the Dome Judd of John Bosche running strongly in fifth place.

Guy Smith pitted the lead Bentley on lap 92 and notably only took on fuel. Rinaldo Capello was ready to take over and the team were on hand with new tyres, but the car left on the same set of tyres, with only a full tank of fuel.

The #8 Bentley also pitted about the same time and Johnny Herbert took over as the tyres were changed and fuel added to the car. Herbert continued the pursuit of the leading Bentley at a blistering pace, lapping in the mid 3m 38s and up to eight seconds faster than the leading car.

Tom Coronel was forced to retire his St Team Orange Spyker C8 after a clutch failure. The car coasted to a halt at the start of the pit lane and the driver got out and tried to push it back to his garage. A marshal stopped him however to explain the rules and forced him to stop.

The Team Bucknum Racing car again stopped out on circuit. The car coasted to a halt just after the Virage du Tetre Rouge after suffering a series of problems and stoppages during the race.

Duncan Deyton was leading the LMP675 class and spun at the Playstation chicane on his 85th lap. Fortunately the Intersport Racing Lola-MG driver was able to spin round and rejoin without loosing his place.

The number #8 Bentley returned to his pit for a fuel stop on lap 102 and Herbert returned to the track on the same tyres as before, although they were a little more worn after his spectacular power slide back into the pit lane.

Ara made his stop in the Team Goh Audi R8 on lap 102 and rejoined 1 minute 41 seconds behind Pirro who was in third place. Pirro then pitted in the sister Audi and returned 40 seconds ahead of Ara.

The number #7 Bentley made its driver, fuel and tyre stop on lap 105. Rinaldo Capello returned to the wheel having been the driver at the start of the race. He instantly matched the pace of Herbert in the perusing Bentley.

Anthony Lazzaro spun his Risi Competizione Ferrari 360 into the gravel at Virage d’Indianapolis on his 40th lap. At the time he was running 64 laps behind and was the last car in his class. He was able to rejoin the circuit a few minutes later.

At 11pm local time Capello was holding a 33 second lead over Herbert in the second Bentley, with Pirro in third place in the Champion Racing Audi.

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Rinaldo Capello , Guy Smith , Seiji Ara , Tom Coronel , Anthony Lazzaro , John Bosch , Emanuele Pirro
Teams Risi Competizione