|The 24 Hours|
|10:49 The #14 Chrysler leaves the pits after attention to damage caused by Kondo's Mulsanne 'moment'. The delay allows Tinseau in the #6 Cadillac to close to within two minutes, the two cars running in seventh and eighth places.|
11:00 Rain stopped some time ago but parts of the circuit are still quite wet. There are only 22 cars now circulating.
11:05 The #6 Cadillac climbs to seventh again! as Kondo pits with the #14 Chrysler - again.
11:18 The #6 Cadillac drives straight into the pit garage, Tinseau gets out, Angelelli ready to get aboard, front bodywork has minor damage and is replaced, another long stop and again the #6 car tumbles down the leaderboard (down to tenth place). It's been a topsy turvy race for the #6 car.
11:18 The ROC Reynard is back up to seventh (again!) with the recovering (again!) #14 Chrysler closing fast on the LMP 675 car.
11:39 The #17 Courage pits in pursuit of the 4th place #16 Chrysler, these two have been trading times for the last hour or so and are separated by just a few seconds before the Courage pits.
11:44 Kondo's #14 Chrysler is reeling in the little Reynard with Angelelli's Cadillac making similar progress against the #60 Saleen. The Saleen pits and the Cadillac is back up to ninth spot.
11:50 The #14 Chrysler disgraces itself again, it fails to start from a routine pit stop as Ni Amorim steps into the car and the chase begins again.
11:53 The GT class leading #77 Freisinger Porsche has a quick spin on the exit from the first Mulsanne Chicane. Not good timing, the battle for the lead in GT is closer still, 3 seconds between the #77 car and the pursuing #83 Seikel car at the end of the lap. A couple of hours steady work undone in a moment.
12:06 The #74 Luc Alphand Porsche is making its way around the circuit with a badly bent rear bumper. It makes its way pitwards for repairs, giving the chasing PK Sport Porsche the opportunity to close up
12:10 The #72 Taisan Advan Porsche is in trouble too, a rear puncture in the worst possible place on the circuit (ie the furthest distance from the pits) leaving driver Atsushi Yogo to cruise round with the shattered tyre doing damage to the rear wheel arch.
12:13 The #14 Chrysler's topsy turvy race finally went terminally turvy! Seiji Ara's mount burst into flames as he approached Mulsanne Corner. The driver jumped out unharmed, but double quick, with flames licking at his overalls, a sad end to a great display from the Japanese.
There have been a number of sad ends this weekend, the saddest of these coming so early on in the race - Toni Seiler in the Saleen, David Terrien in the FFSA entry, the oh so successful (in the FIA GT Championship) Larbre car and the Belmondo Vipers, to name but five - four of them Vipers of course. That decimated the GTS race, which turned out to be a Corvette benefit, leaving the best race-within-a-class to the GTs. The worst race-within-a-class was 675 - but this sport is based on hope and optimism, and everyone who arrives with a car has to have that belief that it is their turn this time. Just as those of us who observe live in hope that this Le Mans will be one of the greats. It wasn't. We'll probably remember it for the weather and for the crushing display from the Infineon-backed Audi R8Rs of Herr Joest. Unless Henri Pescarolo can urge his men on to snatch third from the quickest of the Chrysler LMPs.
12:20 Vive La France, the #17 Pescarolo Courage is up to fourth place (the position it [the team] finished last year's race).
12:26 The #60 Saleen, running in eighth place overall and second in GTS, is very smokey through the Porsche Curves, it pits immediately and is pushed into the garage.
12:29 The leader is in the pit garage! Tom Kristensen pulls the #1 Joest car in for a rear end quick change special! Around 6 minutes plus the fuelling and the car is back out, losing just a lap and a half of his three lap advantage. Was the change necessary or just a very public demonstration of the silver machines' crushing superiority?
12:32 The Courage's routine pit stop hands fourth place back to the Lamy #16 Chrysler.
12:38 Some sad news, neither the #21 Ascari, nor the #18 Pescarolo Courage will be permitted to rejoin the race in the closing stages as 'walking wounded'. Neither car has completed the necessary percentage of the winning car's lap total.
12:48 Max Angelelli posts the #6 Cadillac's fastest lap of the race in pursuit of the ROC Reynard for 7th overall. He passes the LMP675 leader on the following lap.
12:52 With the last surviving Saleen being attended to in the pits, GTS is now a Corvette 1-2 with both cars running in the top ten overall. The overall top ten also now features a GT class car, the class leading #83 Seikel car.
13:07 Rain - again, just as the Cadillac goes out on slicks, the first time in hours that the #6 car has started on the button! Everyone else pits for wets. Nigel Smith beaches the #75 Perspective Racing Porsche at Tertre Rouge. The Cadillac pits next time round but it's not just for tyres, the front bodywork is off and it renews its acquaintance with the garage once more. This is another team that has had no luck at all this weekend.
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13:20 The #30 WR is crawling down Mulsanne but makes it back to the pits.
13:30 The Courage is smoking very heavily but the car has pitted and rejoined. Boullion has, however, lost fourth place to the #16 Chrysler
And the #6 DAMS Cadillac is back for yet more attention in the pit garage.
13:30 The Safety Cars are out for the streaming wet conditions and oil down (from the Courage?).
13:34 The #79 Noel del Bello Porsche is into the pit garage and the WR rejoins the race.
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