A series of driver errors and mechanical failures kept the early-morning crowd entertained at Le Mans. The most notable incident happened when the unfortunate Bentley ...
A series of driver errors and mechanical failures kept the early-morning crowd entertained at Le Mans. The most notable incident happened when the unfortunate Bentley #8, running in second place after a series of problems, had to again have the battery replaced during an unplanned pit stop during David Brabham’s stint.
Hayanari Shimoda had a moment in his RN Motorsport DBA 4-Zytek which caused slight damage to his car. This was repaired in a quick pit stop and he returned 30 laps behind the LMP675 leader Jean-Luc Maury-Laribiere in the Noel del Bello Racing Reynard-Lehman.
Jan Lammers lost control of his Dome Judd and spun round backwards into the gravel at Virage d’Indianapolis on his 253rd lap. Lammers was, at the time, the highest place runner outside the Audis and Bentleys. The marshals pushed him on to the track and he toured round back to the pits with a left-rear puncture. The damage was repaired, the driver replaced with Andy Wallace, and the car resumed, still in fifth place.
At the same time Gunnar Jeannette, in sixth place, outbraked himself in the JML Panoz at Virage d’Arnage and went head-on softly in to the tyre wall. He was able to spin round and continue without and significant damage, but missing the opportunity to make up the gap on the Dome Judd.
The pace amongst the top four picked up again, with Brabham, in second place in the Bentley, and Magnussen, in fourth place in the Team Goh Audi R8, pushing a couple of seconds faster than their team-mates.
The Champion Racing Audi R8 pitted for a driver change, tyre change and fuel stop on lap 266. The stop went smoothly and JJ Lehto took to the track in third place.
Luc Alphand in the Alphand Aventures Ferrari 550 Maranello locked up very heavily under braking for Virage d’Arnage and ran wide. He was able to reverse and get back on track without loosing much time, but stopped in the pits for a fresh set of tyres.
Brabham pitted unexpectedly in the #8 Bentley on lap 269 and the mechanics quickly gathered around the left-hand side of the cockpit. The battery was taken out and a replacement fitted. The car spent 3 minutes 32 seconds in the pit lane and rejoined still in second place.
The Gerald Welter WR Peugeot let go on its 176th lap with Stephane Daoudi behind the wheel. White smoke was gently puffing out of the left-hand side of the back of the car as it toured back to its garage. At the same time Kelly Collins pulled the Corvette Racing Chevrolet into its garage with a mechanical problem.
David Saelens went straight on at Virage de Mulsanne and ran across to the other side of the gravel trap, requiring the help of the marshals to get back on the circuit. The Panoz was running in 20th place overall and 51 laps behind.
The leading four cars continued to lap at around the same pace as each other. At 10am Kristensen was leading for Bentley on lap 285 ahead of team-mate Brabham who was two laps behind, with Lehto in the Champion Racing Audi R8 in third and the Team Goh Audi R8 of Magnussen in fourth.
Lead Bentley off in the distance as sun rises
Risi Competizione hour 16 report