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Oil spill at Mulsanne brings out safety cars

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Oil spill at Mulsanne brings out safety cars
Jun 15, 2003, 10:25 AM

The fourth hour of Le Mans 24 hours was initially routine with planned pitstops and clean driving. A confusing safety car period during the fourth hour, however, handed a huge advantage to Tom Kristensen in the number seven Bentley. David Brabham ...

The fourth hour of Le Mans 24 hours was initially routine with planned pitstops and clean driving. A confusing safety car period during the fourth hour, however, handed a huge advantage to Tom Kristensen in the number seven Bentley.

David Brabham pitted for a routine fuel stop and driver change on lap 49. He handed over to Mark Blundell who returned to the circuit three seconds in front of Marco Werner’s Audi in third place.

Blundell was immediately on the pace and lapping two seconds faster than Kristensen, the leader, and Werner. Kristensen soon responded to Blundell’s pressure and started lapping under 3 minutes 40 seconds. The Bentleys were pulling away by three seconds per lap.

The Team Bucknum Racing Pilbeam, driven by Chris McMurry, remained in the garage with an overheating gearbox. The Risi Competizine Ferrari 360 Modena of Anthony Lazzero and the Carsport America Pagani Zonda were both undergoing work in the pit lane having suffered from technical problems

The safety cars were deployed on lap 59 after an oil spill around the Virage de Mulsanne area of the circuit. The three safety cars joined at different points around the field and Kristensen, in first, and Blundell, in second, pulled up behind different cars causing the Bentleys to be significantly separated.

The Champion Audi of Johansson chose to pit during the safety car and had to join the queue of cars at the end of the closed pit lane exit.

The race eventually restarted with the safety cars pulling off at different locations around the circuit at different times.

After an initial period confusion Kristensen crossed the line at the end of lap 60 over 2 minutes 17 seconds ahead of Blundell in the sister Bentley. Werner was a further 50 seconds behind in third, 50 seconds ahead of Johansson in fourth.

Richard Stanton’s Dewalt Racesports TVR Tuscan and the Carsport America Pagani Zonda both officially retired from the race during the hour.

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Biela's 4-time repeat attempt runs out of fuel

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