Kristensen closes up on leader Smith

Kristensen closes up on leader Smith

Guy Smith took over at the wheel of the leading Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx as Tom Kristensen continued the overnight charge of the second-placed Audi Sport Japan Team Goh. The gap between the leading pair fluctuated as the pair pitted and ...

Guy Smith took over at the wheel of the leading Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx as Tom Kristensen continued the overnight charge of the second-placed Audi Sport Japan Team Goh. The gap between the leading pair fluctuated as the pair pitted and lapped backmarkers but generally Kristensen closed the gap by two or three seconds per lap, paving the way for a battle later on in the day.

#5 Audi Sport Japan Team Goh Audi R8: Seiji Ara, Rinaldo Capello, Tom Kristensen.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.

The Rollcentre Racing Dallara Judd of Joao Barbosa was putting in a blistering pace and was running in fourth place. The Zytec of David Brabham was also lapping at its fastest pace of the race in eighth place - he caught and passed the GTS class leader Peter Kox in his Prodrive Racing Ferrari 550 Maranello to move up to seventh.

The GT class leader Petersen/White Lightening had a scare on lap 144 when Jorg Bergmeister pulled into the garage with a gearbox problem. The team had a one lap lead but fell to three laps behind the new class leader Ralf Kelleners in the Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Patrick Long took over at the wheel and set about taking huge chunks out of the Freisinger Motorsport car's lead.

The leader of the LM P2 class, Intersport Racing's Lola Judd driven by William Binnie pitted because of mechanical problem on lap 142 but held a comfortable lead over the two remaining LM P2 running who were at least 40 laps behind.

The leading Audi pitted on lap 165 for a driver change and Guy Smith took over at the wheel. Kristensen put in fastest sectors as he closed in on Smith as his car was light towards the end of his stint before pitting for fuel.

Lehto lapped the Champion Racing Audi as fast as it had gone at any time during the race, and then he handed over to Marco Werner who continued to close on fourth placed Barbosa by around seven seconds per lap.

Jan Magnussen pitted #64 Corvette Racing C5-R from tenth place after he ran wide on the circuit and believed he had picked up a puncture. The tyres were changed and he handed over to Oliver Gavin who resumed two laps behind the GTS leader Kox but returned to the garage after just one lap.

The Audis were now running at their quickest pace of the race as they exchanged fastest sector times and Kristensen and Werner were lapping fastest of all.

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers David Brabham , Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Jan Magnussen , Guy Smith , Ralf Kelleners , Seiji Ara , Oliver Gavin , Jörg Bergmeister , Peter Kox , Joao Barbosa , Patrick Long , Marco Werner , Eric Gilbert , William Binnie
Teams Corvette Racing