The weather gods sent every challenge known to man (or engineer) in the first two hours of today's 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but the Risi Competizione team met them all head on and came out ahead. At the end of the first...
The weather gods sent every challenge known to man (or engineer) in the first two hours of today's 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but the Risi Competizione team met them all head on and came out ahead.
At the end of the first quarter of the race, after six full hours of racing, the #97 car is leading the GT2 class by one lap over its nearest rival, having capitalized on clever pit strategy, tire choice and driver consistency.
Mika Salo was able to profit from a double stint of dry running, the first that any of the teams had enjoyed during a week of tempestuous weather conditions. The lead the Finn pulled out has been maintained by Johnny Mowlem and all three of the drivers in this car have now taken the wheel during the race.
Tracy Krohn of Houston, Texas, suffered from the worst of the changeable weather and track conditions as the starting driver in car #99, but survived a small spin without damage and went on to complete a full hour in the car before passing the wheel to Nic Jonsson. The Georgia-based Swede and 18-year-old Colin Braun, the youngest driver in the race this year, have both driven a full double stint and neither have experienced any major problems.
Brazil's Jaime Melo had the tricky task of advising his engineer, Rick Mayer, of the ever-changing track conditions during his time in the car, and commented afterwards: "The difficult bit was that in the first sector it was completely wet and then went to completely dry so we didn't know how long the rain was going to be around. Anyway, I have a good engineer, and we have a great Michelin tire engineer too, so they helped me to make a decision and it was the right one.
"Then we had a safety car for a long time which helped us make up some places so that was all good. The car is good -- apart from early on when I had a problem with the right-side door -- but now all is okay."
The next Risi Competizione race bulletin will be issued at 0300 hrs (Sunday, 17 June).