The 24 Hours
Race Report
Part 11
8:13 Olivier Beretta's streak of bad luck continues as the #16 Chrysler, running in fourth place, pulls straight into the garage. Beretta has a three lap advantage over the following #6 Cadillac. Pierre Dieudonne told TMS's Marc Laffeas that the #16 car has had two starter motors and a water pump changed so far during the race. Despite this they think the car can run competitvely to the end.

8:18 Frank Biela comes in for a hurried stop, so hurried that a Joest tyre changer sends a discarded wheel rolling in front of the departing #14 Chrysler

8:20 The #72 Taisan Advan Porsche comes into the pits with a broken exhaust.

8:22 Babini in the #83 Porsche has now reduced the gap to the #77 car to 20 seconds.

8:24 Beretta leaves the pits in a hurry, his advantage over the following Cadillac now less than a lap. A Radio Le Mans pit reporter was amused to find a label in the cockpit of the car giving the mobile phone numbers of key ORECA personnel - presumably in case of dramas out on the circuit. The efforts of the super-professional ORECA team were not enough this time, Wayne Taylor's Cadillac passed the hobbled Chrysler to take fourth position. Taylor pits next time round though and again the engine cover comes off. Tinseau gets into the car but is unable to restart the engine, the car is wheeled into the garage (failed starter motor), tumbling down to seventh place almost immediately. Beretta meantime makes good his escape, pursued now by the #17 Courage of Jean Christophe-Boullion..

8:32 Babini is now right up with Dumas in the #77 Porsche and goes by on the next lap.

8:46 The Cadillac is back in the race after a 14 minute pit stop.

8:50 The new GT class leader pits for a routine stop, and the #77 Freisinger car retakes the class lead.

The Audi mechanics show signs of flagging, but the R8Rs look as though they could go through to next Sunday, with maybe a gearbox change on Wednesday afternoon.

The Top Ten with 7 hours to go:

1. #1 Joest R8 228 Laps (LMP900 Leader)
2. #2 Joest R8 225 Laps
3. #8 Bentley 216 Laps (LMGTP Leader
4. #16 Chrysler 208 Laps
5. #17 Courage 207 Laps
6. #63 Corvette 206 Laps (GTS Leader)
7. #'14 Chrysler 206 laps
8. #6 Cadillac 205 Laps
9. #38 Reynard 204 Laps (LMP675 Leader)
10. #60 Saleen 200 Laps

12. #77 Porsche 198 Laps (GT Leader)

9:05 Right rear puncture for the Franz Konrad #60 Saleen; he nurses it back to hand over to Ollie Gavin.

9.07 John Brooks shares a joke with Mike Pickup of PK Sport. Let's have a go then: "Who is that scruffy sod with John Brooks?"

9.10 A starter motor change (its third in common with the sister car) for the #14 Chrysler. The mechanics look suitably unamused.

9:14 The #74 Luc Alphand Porsche drives into the pit garage from third in GT.

9:19 Rain at Indianapolis.

9:27 Yet more starter motor woes, this time for Cadillac, as Christophe Tinseau is delayed after a routine pit stop. Once more the engine cover is removed and the Cadillac is wheeled into the garage for attention. Tinseau punches the wheel in frustration, another charging session rendered useless because of a simple fault.

9:30 Rain on the pit straight.

9:33 There are now two pairs of 911s dicing round the circuit. The class lead battle between the #77 Freisinger and #83 Seikel cars is about to be rejoined and the battle for third and fourth in class is in full swing between the #75 Perspective Racing Car and the #80 Larbre car.

9:37 Rain getting heavier and the cars are streaming into the pits for wet weather tyres.

9:42 Great close up TV pictures of the Bentley's windscreen wiper lifting from the screen on Mulsanne.

9:48 Luca Drudi takes the GT class lead in the #83 Seikel Porsche as the #77 Porsche delays changing to wets by a lap.

9:54 The Freisinger Porsche goes straight through the gravel at the first Mulsanne chicane and seems to emerge closer to the Seikel car! It did, the seven second deficit is halved next time round.

10.02 One lap later the Freisinger car is ahead again. Great stuff from the battling GTs, the best - only - racing going on.

10.17 Another change for position as the PK Sport Porsche 911 GT3-RS takes 18th overall from the similar #74 car (long pit stop).

10.25 Yet another starter failure for the #6 Cadillac! More good work undone - you all know the routine by now! Engine cover off, push car back in garage etc etc. The Caddie loses sixth to the #63 Corvette as a result.

10.34 The #2 Joest R8 and LMP 675 leading (surviving, it was the only 675 to take the start that is still going, the WR is in the Le Mans 23 Hours)#38 Reynard clash gently at the Ford chicane, the second placed car gently nudging Pascal Fabre's aside with no obvious damage to either car.

10:39 The #6 Cadillac rejoins back down to ninth

10:39 Kondo in the #14 Chrysler outbrakes himself into the first Mulsanne chicane and clouts the barrier. There is little obvious damage and the car is making its way back to the pits.

By the way, those two at the front are lapping at least five seconds a lap quicker than anyone else, good, solid 4:20 laps in the continuing murk. Tinseau is the next quickest, understandably.

Official website of the Le Mans 24 Hours
Official website of the Le Mans 24 Hours

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