- Race Day at Le Mans
Saturday morning warm-up began at a minute
past half-eight, with the KSM Lola the first
casualty. The Mazda-engined Lola prototype,
visually similar to last year's RML MG EX265
but with a different engine and colour scheme,
barely reached the end of the pitlane before
smoke was seen billowing from the rear of
the car. It was hauled backwards into the
Erdos was first out in the RML Lola Mazda
and his timed lap was a 3:49.719; second fastest
in LMP2 at this early stage. The track was
bathed in glorious sunshine, perhaps the brightest
we've seen all week, and a haze had already
started to develop across the crest of the
Dunlop Curve. It was a glorious start to the
day, and an appropriate background for this
77th "Rendezvous with History",
as the French circuit commentary effusively
declared at 8:00am.
completed his single flying lap Tommy headed
back down the pitlane to perform a race-pace
driver-change with Mike Newton. This is normal
procedure at RML, with each driver taking
it in turns to complete a single timed lap
before heading back to perform, and hone,
their pitstop strategies. Mike's flyer was
a 3:54.368, and with that completed, he started
his in-lap. It would not end with the expected
driver change to Chris Dyson.
gently down the pitlane towards the "box",
Mike was looking out for Rick to mark the
point where he should pull in to take up his
position outside the RML garage when the #007
Lola Aston Martin, with Jan Charouz at the
wheel, was released prematurely by the Aston
Martin pit crew. Accelerating rapidly, the
Gulf-liveried Aston pulled out straight into
the side of the RML Lola Mazda.
reports stated that the damage to the #25
Lola was more serious than it looked. While
the #007 had survived more or less intact,
the impact with the RML car had intruded deeply
into side of the car, and cracked the underfloor.
This is a major component on the chassis and
the team carries relatively few spares. This
needless incident not only prevented Chris
Dyson from participating in warm-up, but it
also meant a lengthy rebuild for the mechanics
at a time when they might have been looking
forward to the emotive build-up to the start
of the race.
only good news for Lola at this stage of the
morning was the re-appearance of the KSM Lola,
with Matthew Marsh in the cockpit and completing
a single un-timed lap. The RML Lola would
not be appearing again.
to say, the atmosphere in the RML garage was
hazed with blue . . . perhaps a pale shade
of Gulf-livery tinged with orange. "As
warm-up goes, that was all going to plan,"
said Phil Barker "The drivers confirm
that the car is good, and it feels just as
it did in Thursday qualifying (following its
complete rebuild yesterday) and they’re
very happy with the balance, but it was very
unfortunate that Aston Martin failed to control
their car properly in the pitlane. The driver
was released without anyone checking if the
pitlane was clear. There was no regard for
anyone else’s safety, and the action
was totally beyond reason.”
spokesman for the team added: “Jan Charouz,
the driver in the Lola Aston Martin, cannot
be held responsible. He was following the
instructions given to him by his pit crew,
but they signalled for him to leave the pit
box without determining whether the pitlane
was clear. Regrettably, he drove straight
into the side of our car. The cost in terms
of time is expensive enough at this late stage,
as it will take the team perhaps four hours
to effect a complete repair, but the financial
cost is estimated at some £80,000.”
Dyson had been waiting in the RML garage in
anticipation of swapping places with Mike
and completing his warm-up run. "I couldn't
believe what I was seeing. The Aston just
drive straight out into the side of the car.
They broke some of the cardinal rules of racing.
They put their own car at risk, our car, both
drivers, and the people in the pitlane. It
was totally reckless and irresponsible.
Times - Warm-up
RML engineers and mechanics now face perhaps
four hours of hard work at a time when they
had hoped to be enjoying the atmosphere that
is characteristic of these final hours before
the start of the race. It is hoped that the
full repair can be completed in under four
hours. While the result of Aston Martin's
recklessness constitutes a needless waste
of time, it has also been financially expensive
as well. The cost of the replacement parts
is expected to run close to £80,000.
pending an apology, which in itself would
be much appreciated, we understand that the
underfloor of the Lola Aston Martin is the
same as that fitted to RML's Lola Mazda. An
appropriate gesture might be for Aston Martin
to offer a replacement floor in exchange for
the RML pit crew slaved away in the heat of
the garage, the build-up to the 77th running
of the Le Mans 24 Hours continued outside
in the sunshine. The Legends race followed
warm-up, although without the participation
of the original Aston Martin DBR1 which won
the 24 Hours fifty years ago this year. The
DBR1 dropped a valve in qualifying, and could
not be repaired in time for the race. It will
remain on display at the AM hospitality beside
the Ford Chicane for the rest of the weekend.
Start (Designated driver: Thomas
a result of the way in which the race report
is compiled - some in retrospect, much as
it happens, and more post-race - there may
be some inconsistency in tenses, for which
of Lap 1
It's been a clean start throughout most of
the LMP2 grid, and there are no significant
changes in position. It's a Peugeot one-to-three
in the overall race, with Audis four and five.
The JetAlliance GT1 Aston is back into the
pits . . as is the Lamborghini, which retires
having completed just one lap.
of Lap 2
Only two laps into the race and the Porsches
ae already pulling clear in LMP2. The margin
they enjoy over the #33 Sebah Lola, third,
is about seconds, and ten Tommy is narrowly
behind the blue and silver Lola.
Premat has an off at Indianapolis in the #3
Audi, and hits the front of the R15, sustaining
minor damage. There is a very unsporting cheer
from the partisan crowd, seemingly choosing
to forget that two out of the car's three
drivers, including Premat, are French.
of Lap 3
Tommy looking very tidy through the twisty
bits, particularly the Ford Chicane, while
Kane is on an edge and it's ragged. The #39
KSM Lola-Mazda is back into the pits for the
a good battle going on in the middle of the
LMP1 field, where Peter Hardman is driving
first-stint in the #23 Strakka Racing Ginetta-Zytek.
He's fending off a determined assault from
the two Kolles Audi R10s, and they're under
pressure from the 009 Lola Aston Martin.
of Lap 4
The gap between the leading LMP2 Porsche,
the #31 Team Essex car, and the following
Team Goh example is steadily lengthening.
It's out to three seconds now. The contest
for third betwen Tommy and Jonny Kane is separated
by about a second, but is some 10 seconds
behind the lead.
of Lap 5, 15:16
The leaders are already well into lapping
th tail-enders, and are up among the GT2 leaders.
In LMP2, the #31 Team Essex Porsche leads
by just four seconds from the #5 Team Goh
car. There's then 14 seconds back to Jonny
Kane in the #33 and Tommy in the #25, with
half a second of the blue and silver car.
of Lap 6
The #15 Kolles Audi is the next to make an
Tommy moves even closer to Jonny Kane in the
#33 Speedy Sebah Lola-Judd. He's right under
the car's rear wing, and bobbing around from
side to side to let Jonny know he's there.
The #40 ASM Quifel Ginetta-Zytek is into the
pits for an unscheduled stop.
There's been a change in the intense mid-field
battle between the Kolles Audi #15 and the
#009 Lola Aston - the latter has got in front.
Meanwhile, no change in LMP2, although several
P1 cars have started to make their first pitstops.
Tommy has fallen back just a little on the
The #009 Aston is back behind the #15 Kolles
car once again. These two are so engrossed
in their own duel now that Peter Hardman has
been able to pull ahead.
leading Peugeots head into the pitlane for
their first scheduled driver change, leaving
Audis first and second. The #17 Pescarolo
Peugeot follows its cousins into the pitlane.
As it passes the factory garages, the #7 908
is released by its crew, and is promptly T-boned
in the left-rear by the Pescarolo Peugot.
Both cars are badly damaged, but the factory
car picks up a puncture. It has already left
its pit box, and there's no going back. He
faces a full lap of the rack with a punctured
The #31 Team Essex Porsche leads LMP2 by about
8 to 10 seconds from the #5 Team Goh car,
while there's a country mile between these
two and the #33 and Tommy in the #25 battle.
The #7 Peugeot is having real problems as
it makes its slow - or perhaps not so slow
- return to the pits. Travelling along the
Mulsanne, the tyre finally gives up, and starts
to flail around in the rear wheelarch. This
leads to the inevitable, and within moments
the shredding rubber starts to rip apart the
rear bodywork. Suddenly, vast chunks start
to be spread across the track like muck from
Many cars have taken the safety car as an
opportunity to pit, including Tommy. He stops
for fuel only.
The #7 Peugeot has finally made it back to
the pits, but in the process of making its
way around the entire circuit, perhaps a little
faster than discretion might suggest was wise,
the entire rear-left of the car has been decimated
by the flailing rubber from the punctured
tyre. The car looks a dreadful mess, but not
radios in to say that the RML Lola, by contrast,
is really comfortable to drive, and that consistent
laps in the 45 to 46 bracket are easy to achieve.
He has "good pace, and no problems",
and is currently P4 in LMP2.
The race gets under way again, but with two
safety cars, one sets the train free long
before the other, handing the leading Peugeot
#8 a generous advantage over Allan McNish
in the first of the chasing Audis, who is
not released for another fifteen seconds or
in LMP2 at the start of the second hour has
the #31 Team Essex Porsche RS Spyder leading
the class from the #5 Team Goh sister car
by about six seconds, with Jonny Kane still
holding third from Tommy, by about five seconds.
The gap between the two pairs is, however,
The team advises Tommy that the telemetry
suggests the car has suffered a right-rear
puncture, and that there has been rapid deflation.
he is advised to take care at the next corner.
Tommy radios back to say that the car feels
fine, but Phil wants to err on the side of
caution, and asks him to pit at the end of
completes the lap at a fair speed, but not
as quickly as he usually would.
Tommy into the pitlane for a new set of tyres.
This is essentially a precaution, since he's
convinced there's nothing wrong with the tyres,
but if the sensor is faulty, it might miss
a genuine puncture, so it's considered best
to replace the tyres anyway.
The #7 Peugeot, which ripped its rear bodywork
to shreds by travelling all the way round
the circuit at too high a speed with a left-rear
puncture, finally rejoins the race.
Tommy remains fourth in LMP2, 20th overall.
Mike confirms that the suspected puncture
was down to a faulty sensor.
Live coverage of RML's 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours
starts here . . .
. . with Tommy still in the car and nearing
the conclusion of his opening stint, lying
fourth in LMP2 and 20th overall - in effect,
holding position in class, and having made
up two positions overall since the race began
an hour and a half ago. However, his progress
to this stage in the race hasn't been as straightforward
as that simple summary might suggest. This
has already been a dramatic Le Mans, with
Peugeot once again doing their utmost to lose
the race through pitlane incompetence and
management error. More on that when we can
catch up on the first 100 minutes.
Tommy has three more laps scheduled for this
stint, before a scheduled pitstop for fuel
and what was expected to be the first driver
change. However, Tommy has just agreed to
go for a third consecutive stint in the car.
Having been forced to stop for fresh tyres
as a result of a suspected puncture (later
traced to a faulty pressure sensor) it would
waste valuable time to stop again and carry
out a driver change without also changing
tyres, so keeping Tommy in the car reduces
the length of the pitstop significantly. Mike
will get fresh tyres when he takes over in
forty minutes' time.
Tommy sets the RML Lola's fastest lap of the
race so far, clocking 3:44.816 on the car's
Tommy is preparing to make his next scheduled
pitstop for fuel.
Tommy into the pitlane. Awkward stop with
other cars in the way, and has to be pushed
back to the box. That completed, it's a smooth
and untroubled re-fuel and Tommy's back out
an on track again in a total of 1:04. The
#33 Speedy Sebah Lola had stopped first, and
Tommy briefly moved up into third in LMP2,
but once the stops had worked their way through
the system, it was back to the status quo
- fourth in P2 and 20th overall.
A major accident for Stephane Ortelli in the
#10 Oreca at Tetre Rouge. He appeared to catch
the kerbing by running just a little too wide,
and the car was snicked into an immediate
spin, thumping backwards heavily into the
barriers on the other side. Safety car appears
unlikely, but the car is almost certainly
out of the race.
Correction - Ortelli has got the Oreca going
again, but with several panels missing and
others badly bent. Meanwhile, Vanina Ickx
has gone off at the entry to the Porsche Curves,
and is buried nose-first in the tyre wall
in exactly the same position where Mike flew
out of the 24 Hours last year.
Tommy passes the stricken #10 Oreca, now in
the garage undergoing repairs. He moves up
into 19th position overall, 2:28 behind Pompidou
in the #33 Sebah Lola.
In an amazingly fast rebuild, the #10 Oreca
rejoins the race, now with Bruno Senna making
his Le Mans debut, but not before Philip Peter
in the #41 GAC Racing Zytek also moves ahead.
The #30 Racing Box Lola appears to have encountered
a problem on the approach to the pitlane -
possibly fuel related? It has slowed to a
crawl in the pitlane entry, and then stopped
just yards short of the line. The car was
lying 30th overall, 9th in class.
Tommy passes Nick Leventis in the Strakka
Racing #23 Ginetta-Zytek for 18th place overall,
and moves onto the first of the race's three
Speedy Sebah Lola pits, and with Tommy out
of sequence, this hands third to the RML Lola.
Tommy is holding 17th overall now, fourteen
seconds ahead of Nick Leventis in the Strakka
Tommy into the pitlane to complete his opening
triple-stint. The car trundles down the pitlane
with all three signal lights glowing brightly
blue. It's a good sight. The #31 Team Essex
Porsche pitted just before Tommy, and the
#5 pitted just afterwards. Both cars are the
best part of a lap ahead.
Mike cleanly out of the pits after a copybook
pitstop. Fuel, driver swap, screen clean and
fresh tyres. Radio check, and off he goes.
With the pitstops out of the way, the order
is clarified, and Mike is back into 19th overall,
fourth in LMP2.
Mike is concerned by a vibration that appears
to be getting worse.
With apologies for the break in transmission,
due to a temporary inability to get on-line.
However, no significant developments relating
to Mike's progress so far, aside from a minor
issue with a recurrent vibration. This has
now eased somewhat, and may be related to
pick-up on the tyres.
RML Lola is still running in a strong fourth
position, 20th overall, having lost just the
one place to the recovering #10 Oreca Courage
with Bruno Senna at the wheel.
Mike leads Karim Ojeh in the #41 GAC Racing
Team Zytek by just over half a lap, but is
lapping consistently faster.
Mike enters the pitlane after having completed
his first double-stint. Driver change with
Chris Dyson, refuel and fresh tyres.
During the pitstop, there have been a few
changes in the overall order. Christian Klien
in the #7 Peugeot - the one involved in the
pit lane incident at the start of the race
- has been recovering steadily after losing
such a long time in the pits for repairs,
and has now reached the dizzy heights of 20th.
during the pitstop - which took a total of
3:14", the #41 GAC Zytek moved through
to take fourth in LMP2, 21st overall, but
still has it's sixth pitstop to make. Nigel
Moore, the youngest driver in the race at
a mere 17, came by as well in the #22 Team
LNT Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S to assume 21st overall.
This leaves Chris Dyson running in 23rd, 2:23
behind Chris is the #35 Oak Racing Pescarolo,
half-a-minute in arrears.
the overall race, Peugeot #8 leads the race
by a lap from the #9 car, with Capello currently
at the wheel of the #1 Audi in third place,
one minute further back. The second Audi,
#2, is fourth, by a mere 15seconds, but 80
seconds ahead of the first of the petrol-powered
cars; the #007 Lola Aston Martin.
Since he took over in the cockpit, the team
appears to have lost radio contact with Chris.
Although there is an occasional crackle, which
would appear to be him trying to speak with
the pit crew, there is nothing intelligible,
and merely "noise".
Chris re-takes 22nd overall, fourth in LMP2,
as the #41 Zytek completes its sixth pitstop.
Nigel Moore in the #5 Ginetta Zytek is also
in the pits.
The Radical #26 is punted off the track by
the 009 Lola Aston Martin in a bizarre and
evidently needless side-swipe on the approach
to the Ford Chicane. The black and red Radical,
with Tim Greaves in the cockpit, is thrown
first into the concrete wall, and than as
the momentum carries him on, backwards into
a tyrewall. The Radical pirouettes into the
air, debris flying left, right and everywhere.
The rear left corner is ripped from the car.
The Aston continues, seemingly unscathed.
Tim manages to get the car going again, and
since the incident has happened right at the
entrance to the pitlane, he's able to crawl
back to the garage. The Radical team have
a monumental task on their hands.
With debris littering a critical
area of track, the safety car is despatched.
Many cars pit, including several of the leading
Chris Dyson pits in the RML Lola. He stays
in the car, but as soon as the team has completed
the refuel, they set-to on some minor maintenance
work, including addressing the lack of radio
communication. Chris is soon back out into
the safety car queue, but he now has radio
communication, and reaffirms that the vibration
that Mike commented on earlier is still there.
It is making it difficult for him to concentrate
as the oscillations are blurring his vision.
The #009 Lola Aston Martin pits, just as Chris
catches up with the tail of the safety car.
The lights are out on top of the safety car,
suggesting that racing will resume at the
end of this lap. The leaders are 78 laps into
the race, with Chris on 69.
Chris crosses the line and sets off in pursuit
of the cars ahead. One of the first he passes
is the #3 Audi, which is travelling slowly.
The same cannot be said for the #1 and #2
R15s, because the Safety Car has benefitted
Audi, and there's now a real battle for second.
Bernhard enters the pitlane in the #3 Audi.
No obvious reason for it going so slowly,
but it's back into the garage and the mechanics
start working on it.
Chris radios in to say that the vibration
is becoming unbearable. Phil tells him to
"pit this lap".
A change in leader for LMP2. Kunimoto in the
#5 Goh Porsche RS Spyder overtakes Kristien
Poulsen in the Team Essex Porsche. The safety
car bunched them up, and the Goh driver took
the lead on the run down towards the second
Mulsanne chicane. He starts to ease away very
Chris completes a swift pitstop for fuel and
tyres. Hopefully the fresh rubber will cure
the vibration issue, which might have been
caused by pick-up induced by the period behind
the safety car.
enter the sixth hour of the race with a new
leader in LMP2. For the first time the Team
Essex Porsche does not lead the class, but
is now several seconds behind the Team Goh
RS Spyder. Third is Jonny Kane, back in the
#33 Speedy Sebah Lola, and during Chris's
extra pitstop, the #41 GAC Zytek reclaimed
fourth. The RML Lola is fifth by almost exactly
Chris confirms that the vibration has gone,
and Phil subsequently reports that the problem
had indeed been caused by excessive pick-up.
Chris reports that another car (the Hankook
Ferrari 430GT) has caught the rear of the
RML Lola, giving it a light nudge after being
overtaken, but a the moment he feels that
the car is possibly OK. The team will carry
out a visual check as soon as he passes the
Chris sets a 3:46.868, which suggests that
he doesn't have a problem. The conditions
out on track are starting to get a little
difficult. As well as a considerable amount
of spent rubber, making it risky to go off-line
when overtaking, but the sun is also starting
to fall down towards the horizon, and this
makes heading westward very uncomfortable
for the drivers - especially those in enclosed
cockpits where the screen gets peppered by
debris and small blobs of sticky rubber.
Chris passes the #41 GAC Zytek to regain fourth
in LMP2. The two POrsches, leading the class,
both pit for fuel at the same time.
Chris is closing down fast on the GT1 leading
#63 Corvette, driven by Antonio Garcia. The
Corvette slipped by at the last pitstop, having
only stopped six times itself, compared to
the RML Lola's eight stops. However, Chris
is consistently eight to ten seconds a lap
quicker than the GT1 pacesetter, and should
catch it relatively easily.
Sure enough, Chris sweeps by the Corvette
to take 21st overall. His next target is the
#23 Strakka Racing Ginetta-Zytek, which is
currently in the garage with a left-rear wheel
that removes to come off the axle. It has
been stationery for nearly fifteen minutes.
Chris moves ahead of the Strakka Racing car
to take 20th place. He is now about two minutes
behind the other Ginetta-Zytek, the Team LNT
#23. Behind him the #63 Corvette pits.
Chris is preparing for a pitstop himself.
He is asked if he would like another stint
at the wheel, and he says he'd be very happy
to stay in for another forty minutes. Moments
later he advises the team that the fuel light
has flickered for the first time. Usually,
when this happens, the team knows that there's
enough fuel for the car to do at least another
full lap, but typically, they will use this
as a prompt to "pit this lap".
Chris Dyson makes his pitstop, for fuel only.
The total time expenditure for the stop, including
in-and-out through the pitlane itself, was
just over a minute.
The lead Peugeot, #8, is in the garage with
a mechanical problem. It has lost four or
more minutes already. Alex Wurz in the #9
Peugeot moves into the lead. Is this two-down,
one to go for Peugeot?
A quick update on positions. Overall, the
#9 Peugeot leads from the #1 Audi, currently
with Capello at the wheel. The #2 Audi (Lucas
Luhr) is third. The erstwhile leader, the
#8 Peugeot, is back on track, but now from
6th. In LMP2 the #5 Goh Porsche still holds
on to the first place by a mere seven seconds,
but Emanuele Collard is in the Team Essex
version, and his lap times are faster by roughly
a second a lap. The #33 Lola is steady in
third with Chris in fourth, but a lap down.
The call goes out for Tommy to start his personal
preparations for another stint in the #25
Lola. He has been resting in the team motorhome
for the past two hours.
The #2 Audi R15, with Lucas Luhr aboard, has
gone off big-time at the entrance to the Porsche
curves. The car spins across the gravel and
buries itself deeply into the tyres, and the
right-ear wheel is at 90 degrees to the chassis.
It may be that something has broken. Phil
warns Chris over the radio. Lucas gets the
engine fired up and is attempting to get it
moving, but the marshals won't permit it.
( Driver change: Dyson-Erdos)
Chris Dyson is into the pitlane and handing
the RML Lola back to Tommy Erdos. He heads
off at 21:34. The car that had been directly
behind Chris - the #63 Corvette - has also
made a pitstop.
queries the loss of the rear-view monitor,
and is advised that the contact earlier with
the Hankook Ferrari has removed the camera.
He appears to have retained his position,
and Tommy is running in 20th overall, 4th
Lucas Luhr eventually accepts defeat, and
climbs from the car. The #2 Audi R15 is out
of the race. Moments later the #17 Pescarolo
Peugeot overtakes the #008 Lola Aston Martin
in an overwhelming demonstration of pure pace
down the Mulsanne. That makes it Peugeots
first and third, sandwiching the last competitively
placed Audi, the #1 with Tom Kristensen at
With the retirement of the #2 Audi, Tommy
looks set to inherit 19th position overall
before the end of the hour.
The Team LNT Ginetta-Zytek appears to have
encountered the same problem that cost its
fellow, the Strakka Racing GZ09S some 40 minutes
in the pits earlier in the race, and has been
unable to remove the left-rear wheel during
a scheduled pitstop. Tommy may pass the orange
car before it resumes the track.
Tommy and the RML Lola-Mazda move through
into 18th overall and onto the first of the
three timing screens. The #25 car still occupies
fourth in class, but is just over two laps
adrift of the #33 Speedy Seba Lola-Judd, third
in class. However, the leading Porsches are
another two laps in front of the #33 car,
so still much ground to make up.
Tommy is nibbling steadily into Pompidou's
advantage, but it's slow and frustrating work.
Although he's consistently quicker, typically
by three or four seconds a lap, there are
several laps to make up.
The lead Audi pits, and is drawn into the
garage for a thorough clean-up and some detailed
work. It's a planned stop, and maybe the team
has identified a problem with debris pick-up
in the very open-mouthed design of the R15.
The shutters come down on the #41 garage,
reinforcing the belief that the GAC Zyte is
a retirement. Now there's no doubt.
change: Erdos - Newton)
Tommy into the pitlane.
car is given a very thorough clean-out and
rub-down. Tommy is out, Mike is back in. He
departs the pitlane at 11:04.
The #33 Sebah Lola also makes its next scheduled
pitstop, but the Swiss-entered car has still
only done eleven stops, compared to RML's
twelve. And that makes all the diffference.
Unfortunately, the #63 Corvette GT1 has done
only nine stops, and capable of lapping within
eight to ten seconds of the LMP2 cars, is
mixing it well with the prototypes. While
Mike and Tommy are in the pits, O'Connell
drives past into 18th place . . . so it's
back to timing screen 2 for the RML Lola Mazda.
#32 Barazi Zytek is also now close behind
the RML #25.
Incident at Mulsanne between the #8 Peugeot
and the #76 GT2 Porsche. The latter is punted
off into the gravel, while the #8 sustains
damage to the nose. It pits four minutes later
for a new nose.
The Team LNT Ginetta-Zytek has pitted and
is having atendtion to its alternator. It
is less han a minute ahead of Mike, who dropped
to 22nd overall (fifth in LMP2) when the full
impact of the pitstop/driver change was taken
Mike moves up to 21st, overtaking the pit-bound
Conditions are obviously very good. Nic Minassian
has done the fastest lap of the race so far;
3:24.628, in the #7 Peugeot, and Sasha Maassen
has just set fastest lap for the #5 Porsche
RS Spyder, which has, somewhat unnoticed,
lost the LMP2 lead to caspar Elgaard in the
Phil Bennett pits the #32 Barazi Zytek, and
Mike sweeps past down the main straight. He's
back up to 19th, and both cars are on 12 pitstops.
Maassen pits the LMP2 second-placed #5 Porsche.
It's slightly lomger than you might expect
from an RS Spyder. It ends up being a 3:28
stop, and Pompidou in the #33 might have closed,
if that car hadn't then pitted too . . . and
been pulled back into the garage for perhaps
an even longer stop.
The #32 Barazi Zytek is still in the garage.
Mike is instructed to come "in this lap".
He replies with a very proper-sounding "wilco".
He is overtaken by the #4 LMP1 Creation in
the process. The Bruichladdich Radical, which
was thumped off into the barriers by the #09
Aston at half-seven. It's been a major rebuilding
Speedy Sebah Lola back out. The extended pitstop
was to deal with minor contact damage.
( Driver: Newton)
Mike into the pitlane for his scheduled refuel
stop and screen clean. It's a quick and incident-free
pause in proceedings. The whole stop, from
track-to-track, lasted 60 seconds.
concluded with David Brabham in the leading
#9 Peugeot, a lap clear of Tom Kristensen
in the #1 Audi R15. In LMP2, the Tea Essex
car has made the most of the #5's extended
pitstop, and heads the class by over a lap.
The third-placed #33 Lola is a further three
laps behind. Mike Newton holds fourth by another
report continues on the Sunday page, here