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Le Mans 24 Hours of Le Mans

Pain for Cadillac in crash-filled early stages at Le Mans

Cadillac suffered early delays with two of its three LMDh contenders in a crash-filled opening phase of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

#311 Action Express Racing Cadillac V-Series.R of Pipo Derani, Alexander Sims, Jack Aitken

There was drama on the opening lap for the American manufacturer, which has three of its new V-Series.Rs contending for overall honours at Le Mans this year, when Jack Aitken crashed the #311 Action Express car at the first chicane.

Then, midway through the second hour, Sebastien Bourdais in the #3 Caddy was involved in a three-way incident at the Dunlop chicane with two GTE cars that left the Chip Ganassi Racing-run car with damage at the rear.

Bourdais was rear-ended in a slow zone that was in place following a crash for the Nielsen Racing LMP2 car.

The French driver was able to get the car he shares with Renger van der Zande and Scott Dixon back to the pits, with Dixon resuming after a 3m48s delay and remaining on the lead lap.

“We have a good car and it’s just a matter of running a clean race, and we did but we can’t control the outside factors," commented Bourdais. "It’s a shame.

"The right-rear puncture didn’t seem to impact us so much with the slow zone and the tire deg on the first stint is always pretty high, so putting new tires on helped us catch up pretty quickly.

"And then the real bummer is the GT car that got it all wrong in between the slow zones, drove right through and hit us in the right rear. We have a real Cadillac out there once we get back out.”

The #3 then had a lucky escape when Dixon spun as he hit a flooded track entering the Porsche Curves, just keeping it out of the barriers.

 

The Action Express car meanwhile rejoined after a lengthy spell in the garage following Aitken's early crash of an hour and 16 minutes, losing 16 laps to the leaders in the process.

AXR director of operations Chris Mitchum said: “I commend the guys for their composure. We’ll just keep working at it and see what we get.”

Sister brand Corvette Racing also suffered a difficult start to the race with its solo GTE Am car, which had started on class pole in the hands of Nicky Catsburg.

The C8.R spent almost 10 minutes in the garage to replace a front-right damper, dropping three laps off the class lead.

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