LE MANS
The 24 Hours
-
17/06/2001
 
Race Report
Part 8
 
11 hours in, and one Chrysler has gone, the other two hampered by starter motor troubles. 14 and 16 are in eighth and ninth, behind the lone Cadillac, which has crept up to seventh. #15 Chrysler is a retirement with engine failure. "Push it away," as Janice Minton used to say. It suffered from "a breakage in the valve train (which) caused terminal damage to the engine."



It's a very odd look to the top ten. The ROC Reynard and 'ROCK-LIKE' Ascari are ahead of all the factory LMPs except the two silver R8s and the lone Bentley.



The two valiant chargers - ROC and Ascari - are currently split by the GTS leading Fellows Corvette. There are only four laps between the Reynard in fourth and RML Saleen in 12th.

RML tales. Ian McKellar had fought with visibility problems throughout a long, double stint. His windscreen wiper was lifting at speed, and water leaking into the car was being heated by something and causing internal misting - see the photo in the previous report. "I was using a bit of sponge on a bit of stick, to wipe the screen on the straights," explained 'Junes'.

03.15 and it's dry enough for cars to start to go onto intermediates. The weather forecast seems to have been spot on. The R8 that had the rear end change last time, had a new rear body section fitted at its most recent stop: well done Paul Truswell for spotting that #2 achieved 15 laps on its last stint. Well done those who predicted this. 15 laps in the damp; you can easily imagine that that would be 15 in the bone dry too.

The GT leading Seikel Porsche is two laps ahead of Freisinger Porsche. Herr Freisinger must be mightily pleased that he and his team repaired the car on Friday. The Jeannette family too. Kevin and his troop were actually packing their bags on Friday morning, ready to head back to the US. It was only then that they received the call to say that work had commenced on the 911. It missed the warm-up, but second isn't bad, after all that, is it?



3. #74 -4 laps
4. #80 -5
5. #75 -6
6. #82 -7
7. #72 -10
8. #79 -12
9. #76 -14

PK have taken two laps off #79 in the last hour.

Behind this group (in 17th to 23rd overall) are:
#58 Larbre Viper
#30 WR
#32 Roock Lola
#33 MG
#21 Ascari
#18 Pescarolo Courage

And that's it. We have 29 runners still in the race. At the other end of the list, Tom K is two laps up on the sister car, but is pushing hard enough to have a quick spin at the Dunlop Chicane.

03.30 - Ben Collins (a heroic drive) stops the Ascari just after Arnage, from fifth place. Wayne Taylor takes the spot, in a relentless climb through the field. Christophe Tinseau, what was it like out there in the worst of the rain? "It was horrible. 5 cms of water on the track, you must stay in 3rd gear on the straight. It was not (conventional) wheelspin, but the bottom of the car rising on the water."

The Ascari doesn't move again, race over, we think. Zwart's dream is over for this year; fifth place was an exceptional effort. The mechanics have gone down to advise. But the #21 Ascari is expected back out before long, after a major rebuild (60 laps completed, 30 behind the MG).

03.32 - Dindo Capello spins at the Dunlop Chicane in his Audi, and comes to a halt in the gravel. Capello prepares to fit the all wheel drive transmission to get himself out. But a big, red 4WD tractor appears and saves him the trouble. He shows his thanks by spraying the tractor silver, with a silver aerosol he happens to have in the R8. He then motors back into the race, now three laps down.

3:41 A spin at the Dunlop chicane from the #74 Luc Alphand Porsche 911
3:43 Another spin for the #17 Courage, this time at the Ford Chicane. The car is towed into the pitlane, rear bodywork is off the car (again) and the gearbox gets more attention.
3:46 Christophe Tinseau takes over the #6 Cadillac in a routine pitstop and rejoins still in 5th place
3:49 #64 Corvette is pushed into the garage from 9th overall, 2nd in GTS. A diff. belt has been thrown but the gearbox will be changed. Kelly Collins is ready to get into the car.
3:57 #30 WR is pulled into its pit garage.

The halfway point

Overall

1. #1 Joest R8 154 Laps
2. #2 Joest R8 151 Laps
3. #8 Bentley 144 laps
4. #38 ROC Reynard 142 Laps
5. #6 Cadillac 141 Laps
6. #14 Chrysler 140 Laps
7. #16 Chrysler 140 Laps
8. #63 Corvette 140 Laps
9. #62 RML Saleen 138 Laps
10. #64 Corvette 137 Laps

LMP 900

1. #1 Joest R8
2. #2 Joest R8
3. #6 Cadillac
4. #14 Chrysler
5. #16 Chrysler


LM GTP

#8 Bentley


LMP 675

1. #38 ROC Reynard - 141 Laps (4th overall)
2. #30 WR - 113 Laps (25th overall)
3. #33 MG - 90 Laps (26th overall)


GTS

1. #63 Corvette - 139 Laps (8th overall)
2. #64 Corvette - 137 Laps (9th overall)
3. #62 Saleen - 137 Laps (10th overall)
4. #60 Saleen - 137 Laps (11th overall)
5. #58 Larbre Viper - 117 Laps (24th overall)


GT

1. #83 Seikel Porsche
2. #77 Freisinger Porsche
3. #74 Luc Alphand Porsche
4. #80 Larbre Porsche
5. #75 Perspective Racing Porsche

Perspective had been running third, but dropped to fifth after being hit up the back at Arnage by another Porsche, when Michel Neugarten was at the wheel. He's suffering from a very stiff neck after his crash on Thursday.


4:01 #14 Chrysler into pit garage
4:02 Tom Kristensen in the #1 Joest R8 posts the first sub 4 minute lap for many hours, a 3:59.767
4:05 The #6 Cadillac takes the ROC Reynard for fourth
4:07 Pedro Lamy takes over the 6th place #15 Chrysler
4:08 Gearbox change completed, the #64 Corvette rejoins the race.
4:09 The GT leading #83 Seikel Porsche is beached in the gravel at the Ford chicane. Loses half of its two lap lead.
4:10 The race leading #1 R8 has a routine pit stop. Intermediates are put on the car and Pirro gets behind the wheel.
4:15 RML Saleen pitstop - battery change necessary
4:17 The #9 Dome is beached, but is pulled out. Val Hillebrand had just got it into the top ten.



Donny Crevels takes over, below.



4:27 #77 Freisinger Porsche running second place in GT, spins at Dunlop chicane.

4:34 Rinaldo Capello dips under the 4 minute mark in the #2 Joest car, after a long old stint behind the wheel.

4:37 The PK Sport #76 Porsche spins into the gravel at the Dunlop Chicane. Mike Youles, "We're about thirty minutes behind our race strategy. At this stage the plan is get to the finish. David Warnock said later "I approached the corner more aggressively than usual and maybe a little offline and bang, you don't catch them there."

4:41 The #33 MG finally retires. Hugh Chamberlain "I'm very disappointed of course but the car has gone far better than anyone gave it credit for. I'm going to be cheeky and claim that they lasted for half the race. With a bit more development they can go far." The pace of the little MG was stunning. A cracked oil tank delayed this one for two hours. Mark Blundell is seen just before he set off to find out that the car wasn't really raceworthy. With more time and testing, the big boys will be looking nervously over their shoulders.

4:46 The #17 Courage gets back into the race in 11th place after a lengthy pitstop.

4:53 Both Joest R8s are now regularly lapping under the 4 minute mark.

4:54 Terry Borcheller beaches the #60 Saleen at the Ford Chicane on his first lap out of the pits. He loses both 10th place overall and second place in GTS to the RML Saleen of Johnny Mowlem.

5:00 The GT class leading #83 Seikel Porsche has a long pit stop (14 minutes). It loses the class lead to the #77 Freisinger Porsche, dropping to third behind the #74 Luc Alphand Adventure 911.

5:10 Jordi Gene pits from 5th place in the #38 ROC Reynard for attention to a minor cooling problem

5:15 Butch Leitzinger posts a 3:57, but he is 10 laps behind the leading car, and is running 12 lap stints, rather than 14 of the R8s.




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