US teams hit early trouble at Le Mans

US teams hit early trouble at Le Mans

The leading US-based teams, Cadillac and Panoz, hit trouble early in the 2002 edition of the Le Mans 24 hours. The ...

The leading US-based teams, Cadillac and Panoz, hit trouble early in the 2002 edition of the Le Mans 24 hours.

The #7 Cadillac had had an impressive start, moving from the eighth grid position up to fourth in the hands of JJ Lehto. However, after Emmanuel Collard took over the wheel, the team could not restart the car.

Serious work on the starter system ensued, and the team got the car back on track, but only after a 26-minute stay in the pits. Fourth to 42nd was a steep drop, and the team is now seven laps down on the leaders, Tom Kristensen and Johnny Herbert.

Jan Magnussen.
Photo by Panoz Motor Sports.

Jan Magnussen, the leading driver on the #11 Panoz, was 18th after one hour. However, he suffered a puncture on the course, and had to limp back to the pits. Worse, the the team spent over 37 minutes to correct an oil leak on the car, which dropped the Panoz to 44th and ten laps down on the leading Audi duo.

The Audi R8s of Herbert and Kristensen continue to dominate, having diced closely throughout the early hours of the race.

However, Kristensen was assessed a stop-and-go penalty for passing Herbert under a yellow flag. Kristensen finally arrived in the pits at about 18:10, after having been shown the black flag three times.

Audi now holds all top four places, although the gaps are significantly greater, with the unlucky #3 car some three minutes behind, and the #5 Audi Team Goh entry a lapt down.

Outside the dominating Audi showing, though, the two LMP675 MG cars continue to impress, bettering all other LMP900 competitors.

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Tom Kristensen , Jan Magnussen , Emmanuel Collard , JJ Lehto