LE MANS
The 24 Hours
-
17/06/2001
 
Race Report
Part 6
 
MG are having a trying time with the #33 car - which stormed up the leaderboard, only to tumble back down again with a lengthy pit stop. Just as it headed back trackwards, the car seemed to lose its headlights. The team are waiting to see whether it will need to pit again, it does - at about 23.40.

A traumatic lap for Mike Youles in the #76 PK Sport Porsche 911 GT3-RS; a brief trip through the gravel at Mulsanne Corner was followed by a crowd pleasing spin on the start / finish line. The car is still going well though and had posted some stunning times in Youles's hands (taking up to 20 seconds in the terrible conditions out of the rest of the GT runners on some laps), now eighth in GT and 24th overall. Stephen Day takes over and performs equally heroically, lapping at least 20 seconds faster than the rest of the class, except Dumas in the Freisinger Porsche - three seconds quicker, typically.



The third placed #16 Chrysler pits and is pushed back into the garage, engine cover off to deal with a water pump leak. The pump is replaced. "We are still running at a careful pace," said Hugues de Chaunac, Director of ORECA. "We have shown with Yannick that even the most careful and patient driver can spin. It is very difficult on this track, and we have told our drivers to continue to be very careful. The wet weather makes it better for our cars, but the risk for the driver is so much higher in the rain."

The #17 Courage is therefore back up to third. The Bentley though is back in the race, Andy Wallace recovering to fifth in the #8 car.

Meanwhile, at the dull predictable end of the race it's still #1 and #2 first and second.

For the leading LMP 675 car (ROC) it was a trip into the huge new gravel trap at Indianapolis. It loses 6th overall to the #15 Chrysler as a result but rejoins.

Third place seems to be jinxed in this race, as the #17 Courage drives straight into its pit garage and the rear bodywork is removed.

Chrysler's topsy turvy race continues with all three LMPs now in the top 8 (4th, 6th and 8th), although Beretta's water pump woes mean that the #16 car will drop down the order.

Wallace takes 4th for Bentley. It is absolutely ripping down out there. Wettest Le Mans since - when?

A fifth spin for the #14 Chrysler at Tertre Rouge, Ara at the wheel. A brief off for the #64 Corvette too. Both continue without damage. An out of sequence stop for Frank Biela leaves the two remaining R8s running in close formation.

The MG dream continues. Blundell brings the #33 car out to play, incredibly still second in class albeit 20 laps down on the class leading #38 Reynard.

With the #17 Courage still in the pits with the engine and gearbox out of the car, Andy Wallace is closing fast on third place once more. A wild eyed Olivier Beretta finally takes the delayed #16 Chrysler back out, now down in 12th place.

Harri Toivenen has taken the #20 Ascari up into 7th place. But almost immediately it is back into its pit garage to cure a small misfire. The car rejoins back now in ninth place.

The Bentley is back in third at 8 hours and 15 minutes completed. The #1 and #2 cars are now six laps ahead of Wallace.

Yet another spin (Dunlop Chicane) for the LMP675 leading #38 ROC Reynard, this car though is up to fifth overall.

The #2 Joest R8 changes front and rear bodywork at an otherwise routine stop.

A battle is developing between the surviving #6 Cadillac of Max Angelelli and the recovering #16 Chrysler of Olivier Beretta. These two are running 11th and 12th, just ten seconds apart with Beretta closing.

The surviving #36 Dick Barbour Reynard spins at the Dunlop chicane damaging the front end of the car but continues in 28th place, third in LMP675.



The GTS leading #63 Corvette is now up to 7th overall with the sister #64 car in 9th. Saleens are 14th and 15th approaching 01.00, RML still ahead of Konrad. 13th place overall is the #83 Seikel Porsche, still leading GT, by a lap from the Larbre 911.

The #17 Courage rejoins in 10th place after 30 minutes in the pits.

Beretta's #16 Chrysler blitzes by the #6 Cadillac to move up to 11th. Chrysler's food is delicious - thank you Vanessa.

Julian Bailey is about to rejoin in the #33 MG - which has dropped to 27th.



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Official website of the Le Mans 24 Hours

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