- Race to Finish at Le Mans
Mike is passed by the #64 Corvette, driven
by Olivier Beretta. The GT1 car is matching
Mike almost to the second, but on Mike's pitstop,
just before midnight, managed to get ahead.
The #25 RML Lola is 20th overall, again, and
fourth in LMP2.
( Driver change: Newton - Dyson )
Mike in to the pitlane for a scheduled pitstop
and driver change. The car refuelled, the
drivers swapped over, new tyres fitted and
a quick clean-round for debris and dirt, and
then back out on track for Chris Dyson. The
cost? Almost exactly two minutes.
Confirmation that Stuart Hall has been told
that he has been excluded from the rest of
the race, as a result of his move on the Bruichladdich
Radical at half-seven. He is "totally
gutted" by the decision, but very contrite.
Others consider that the punishment is severe,
and they have seen far worse go unpunished.
There seems little question now that the move
was not a deliberate move.
Chris has settled down to a good pace, and
is consistently lapping in the three-fifties,
and occasionally ducking into the top forty-nines.
With the effects of the pitstop evening out,
he has a lead of half a lap over the #35 Oak
Racing Pescarolo LMP2, and is 2:47 down on
Beretta in the #64 Corvette.
Chris moves ahead of the #10 Oreca on pitstops
to take 20th position. Bruno Senna is back
in the LMP1 car and now marginally quicker
than Chris, but is almost two minutes behind.
the eleventh hour, the Team Essex Porsche
is now very comfortably placed, nearly three
laps ahead of the #5 Goh Porsche, which has
had a couple of niggles during the last few
hours and lost touch with the Danish entry.
It has also fallen almost within the clutches
of Xavier Pompidou in the #33 Lola, which
has resumed its metronomic pace, but the Frenchman
is tending to miss out on the Goh's pace by
a second or so each lap, so holding station
is possibly his best hope.
The #64 Corvette pits from second in GT1,
and Chris moves ahead to take 19th. These
position changes are starting to become a
Chris reports that he's just had a flicker
from the fuel warning light.
( Driver: - Dyson )
Chris into the pitlane for refuel and a clean-up.
He says there's some pick-up on the tyres,
but it's manageable at the moment. It's a
very short stop (67 seconds track-to-track)
and Chris in soon back in the hunt, but not
before Senna sweeps by to retake 19th.
Chris is only 12 seconds behind the #64 Corvette
and closing at a rate of eight seconds a lap.
The gap is down to four seconds.
Before he's able to catch and pass Fassler
in the Corvette, both cars move in front of
the #10 Oreca after Senna pits to hand over
Closer and closer. One second separates the
two cars and 19th beckons once more. Within
the minute they cross the line, and Chris
Dyson is already four seconds ahead of the
Corvette. He's two minutes down on the leading
GT1 Corvette, the #63, in 18th.
Chris moves back onto the first screen by
passing the #4 Creation, which has been in
the pits for several laps with suspected braking
It's a brief moment, and within a couple of
minutes Chris is back to 19th again as the
LMP1 Oreca retakes the place. Chris then radios
in to say he's encountered a problem. The
car's still running, but he's lost speed.
He's heading back to the pitlane in "limp-home"
( Driver change: Dyson - Erdos )
Chris into the pitlane. While Chris scrambles
out, Tommy Erdos climbs back in. Fuel and
tyres. The fitting of the seat inserts takes
a little longer than usual, and meanwhile
the team cleans out the ducts as usual, removing
the build up of rubber and debris from the
Tommy leaves the pitlane, but is on the radio
within a couple of minutes to advise that
the car has a misfire that can't be cured
by changes to the mapping. Already the delay
of Chris's slow in-lap and the driver change
have cost the team several places, and Tommy
is in 23rd overall, sixth in LMP2.
( Driver: Erdos )
Tommy into pitlane. The misfire has worsened.
The car is refuelled and then hauled back
into the garage. More news as we get it.
The team has checked over the engine, made
a plug change (according to Radio Le Mans),
and addressed a few other minor maintenance
issues, and Tommy's been sent out again. Unfortunately,
the refitted engine cover may not be located
properly, as the RML Lola-Mazda has no rear
lights, and he'll have to pit again straight
Tommy back in for the crew to re-connect the
rear lights. It takes only a matter of seconds
and he's back out.
All seems to be going well again, and Tommy
has just set a lap of 3:48.984 for his first
flyer of this stint, which is as quick as
anyone else is going in LMP2 at present.
Tommy presses on with the car now lapping
consistently, under his direction, in around
3:46 or thereabouts. The #35 Oak Racing Pescarolo
has just pitted with Ajlani at the wheel,
and that is RML's next target.
Tommy passes the #35 car to move into 23rd.
way . . .
( Driver: Erdos )
Tommy into the pitlane for a scheduled pitstop.
Fuel, a dash of oil, and off on his way again.
A pitstop for the #1 Audi involves a quick
detour via the garage for what is believed
to be a clean-out of the R15's brake ducts.
On departure, the car leaves a trail of fluid
all the way out through the Dunlop Curve.
On the entrance to the Esses, the #15 Kolles
Audi is off, and so to a GT car. Phil Warns
Tommy over the radio to beware both potential
#1 R15 has dropped to third as a result of
the extended pitstop, so it's back to Peugeot
one-two for the first time in many hours.
Tommy reports a lot of gravel on the track,
and that he's picked up a bit of an imbalance
in the tyres as a result.
( Driver Change: Erdos - Newton )
Tommy comes back into the pitlane to hand
on to Mike. He exits from 22nd place, and
looks likely to retain it, as Moreau also
pits simultaneously in the #35 Oak Racing
Pescarolo. Mike heads out at 03:45, aware
that the pit speed limiter is not functioning
A quick catch-up on the situation at the sharp
end of LMP2, where the #31 Porsche continues
to enjoy a generous advantage of a full three
laps over the #5 Team Goh Porsche. The #33
Speedy Sebah Lola is another five laps behind,
with three laps separating that car from the
#30 Racing Box Lola-Judd, which has crept
almost unnoticed through to fourth. The RML
Lola-Mazda is now nearly two laps behind,
but has made five additional pitstops.
His first timed lap completed, Mike is 22nd
overall, fifth inLMP2.
There has been an horrific accident to the
#17 Pescarolo Peugeot at the bottom of the
Esses. There is a sombre silence throughout
the Media centre and around the rack. An ambulance
and other safety vehicles are hurrying to
the scene. A safety car has been released.
Marshals at the scene have been able
to open the door on the cockpit, but otherwise
there have been no other movements from the
car. Benoit Treluyer was on his out-lap having
just taken on fuel and tyres. The marshals
have surrounded the car with tarpaulin screens
and there are several medics attending the
car had been running exceptionally well, and
was the top-placed non-factory entry, holding
fourth place overall. The Pescarolo-entered
Peugeot had been many people's favourite for
a win here this weekend, and the concerns
and thoughts of everyone here go out to the
driver, Benoit, and to Henri Pescarolo himself.
cars are pitting under the safety car, Mike
News that Benoit has been removed from the
car and will be transported to the circuit's
Medical Centre. Benoit is a local guy - born
not far north of here at Alencon. This is
his fifth participation in the Le Mans 24
Hours, and his fourth appearance with Pescarolo.
The Safety Car persists, There has been a
release from the ACO, but it tells us little
more than we already know. The #30 Racing
Box Lola has spun at Indianapolis, but recovers
The remains of Benoit's car is being hoisted
onto the back of a flatbed recovery vehicle.
It is almost unrecognisable. No, it is totally
unrecognisable. Apart from the fact that it
has two wheels still attached, it would be
hard to identify it as a car of any kind,
let alone a closed coupé prototype.
Covered with a tarpaulin and under cover of
natural darkness, the #17 Pescarolo is ferried
back towards the paddock.
In a poignant moment, Daniel Poissenot, Sport
Vice President of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest
(ACO), has walked into the Pescarolo Garage
to return Benoit's racing helmet to the team.
That his helmet has been removed is actually
a good sign, and the most up-to-date report
suggests that he was able to communicate with
the medics on his removal from the remains
of his car.
The lights were briefly off on the safety
car, but were then turned on again.
A well-synchronised restart from both safety
cars - on the main straight and at Mulsanne
and we're back in action.
re-cap: The leader in LMP2 is the #31 Team
Essex Porsche RS Spyder, 11th overall on 208
laps, from the Team Goh Porsche, 13th. Third
is the \33 Speedy Sebah Lola, now with Jonny
Kane in the cockpit. The two Corvettes are
back in the thick of the LMP2 front-runners
again, and holding 16th and 17th.
in LMP2 is the No. 30 Racing Box Lola, for
the time being at least. The car pitted under
the safety car, but is still there. Mike Newton
holds 22nd overall, fifth in LMP2.
The Racing Box Lola resumes, but Mike has
taken advantage of its 6-minute pitstop to
( Driver: Newton )
Scheduled pitstop for Mike for fuel and a
quick clean-up. Mike was held at the end of
the pitlane for a very long time before being
released back onto the track.
Racing Box into the garage having limped back
to the pitlane with evident signs of damage.
It is assumed that the car has dumped fluids
on the track, and as a result there's another
Safety Car period. The Lola looks set for
a lengthy stop.
cars are taking this safety car period as
another excuse for a pitstop.
Both leading Porsches are not only in the
pitlane, but also into their garages. New
nose for the No.5 Team Goh car, and should
be quite a quick bodywork replacement, but
the Team Essex appears to be having major
work carried out to the rear.
Both Porsches back on track, so not the delay
Phil Bennett in the Barazi Zytek has been
wheeled back into the garage, and the No.
35 Oak Racing Pescarolo appears to have suffered
a blown turbo on the exit from the pitlane,
but has pressed on regardless, trailing thick
is starting to break above the eastern grandstands,
and the first hints of azure blue and orange
are starting to wash across the clouds. This
is a difficult period for the drivers, as
their eyes adjust to the changing light, and
their minds remind them that they really ought
to be tucked up in bed, asleep.
The safety cars finally peel away
at the end of most bizarre safety car period
because there was no obvious reason for it.
It's likely that a succession of minor incidents
contributed to the "full-course yellow",
including debris left over from Benoit Treluyer's
accident; fluid deposited on the track after
the #5 Goh Porsche rammed the #30 Racing Box
Lola up the rear; and problems for the Flying
Lizards Porsche at the second chicane (possibly
was very nearly another major accident immediately
after the restart after Peter Hardman spun
the #23 Strakka Racing Ginetta-Zytek as he
accelerated across the line. Then, in his
attempts to turn the car round, ended up broadside
across the track. He was still there when
the next pack came thundering through, and
he was lucky not to get collected as they
Mike Newton remains in the cockpit of the
RML Lola, running in 20th position overall,
fourth in LMP2.
It appears that the #30 Racing Box Lola is
the latest retirement. Andrea Piccini walks
away from his sadly defunct car. The #35 Oak
Racing Pescarolo, which was seen leaving the
pitlane enshrouded in smoke some time ago,
has now been hauled back into its garage for
the best part of ten minutes and shows little
sign of reappearing.
Confirmation that Flying Lizard's Porsche
has been officially retired.
Mike is complaining of poor visibility heading
towards the dawn. Under the Dunlop Bridge
and down the Mulsanne, he can hardly see where
he's going. This is a combination of grime
and pitting on the windscreen itself, and
the glare of the low-down sun.
( Driver Change: Newton - Dyson )
Mike into the pitlane, driver change with
Chris Dyson, refuel and tyres.
Chris Dyson is clearly into the swing of things,
setting laps in the sub-Fifties - his last
was a 3:48.080, and that was second-fastest
in class on present form.
Two more semi-official retirements to announce.
The Hankook Ferrari is one, and the other
is, it seems, the Bruichladdich Radical. Despite
the team's tremendous work in rebuilding the
car after it was dismissed by the 009 Aston
Jonny Kane pits the #3 Speedy Sebah Lola from
14th overall, third in LMP2. Xavier Pompdou
is preparing to step aboard. Chris Dyson overtakes
the #73 Corvette to move into 19th.
( Driver: Dyson )
Just under the hour and Chris Dyson came into
the pitlane for his scheduled stop for fuel.
An unfussy visit, no issues, and Chris back
on track in a little over a minute.
for a recap:
LMP1: David Brabham leads overall in the #9
Peugeot, with Franck Montagny second in the
#8 just two minutes behind. Third place is
still occupied by Tom Kristensen in the #1
Audi, who must be nearing the end of a quadruple
LMP2: Kristien Poulsen leads the class for
Team Essex by two laps from Kunimoto in the
Team Goh Porsche RS Spyder. Third, and only
two minutes back down the track, is Xavier
Pompidou. Chris Dyson still holds on to fourth,
19th overall, for RML AD Group.
GT1: A characteristically impressive 14th
overall for the #63 Corvette, currently with
Antonio Garcia in the driving seat by a lap-and-a-half
from Marcel Fassler in the sister car. Third,
but several laps further down the road, lies
the only surviving Luc Alphand Corvette, #73.
GT2: The battle here has swung wildly between
perhaps half a dozen possible contenders.
The surprise retirement early on Saturday
evening of the #77 Felbermayr Porsche left
the field wide open, and the #82 Risi Competitzione
Ferrari has picked up the baton, and has a
two-lap lead over the JMW Dunlop sponsored
The #33 Sebah Lola is into the pitlane again
It's only half a dozen laps since it was here
last time. The team is examining the alternator.
Chris is offered a third stint, and accepts.
He'll complete his next pitstop for fuel shortly.
Elsewhere, the #35 Oak Racing Pescarolo has
rejoined the race. Rumours of its earlier
demise have been grossly exaggerated.
The TV producer follows Chris and the RML
Lola Mazda for an entire lap. Xavier Pompidou
resumes the race, in 18th position.
Aston #008, currently 9th, appears to have
suffered an engine failure. Lots of white
oily smoke, but it makes its way back to the
garage, where it's wheeled away and the mechanics
start scurrying all around the car's rear
( Driver: Dyson )
Chris is into the pitlane for a straight refuel
is hard to credit that the length of a full
Le Mans Seres race remains to be run.
The RML Lola-Mazda finally moves back onto
Nic Minassian sets fastest race lap overall,
with a new best for the #7 Peugeot of 3:24.352.
( Driver Change: Dyson - Erdos)
A slightly lengty pitstop to
see Thomas Erdos into the cockpit of the RML
Lola. The little red, white and blue Lola
seemingly can't escape the turn of the page,
and it continues to oscillate between the
top of screen two and the base of the first
of the three timing screens. The pitstop drops
the car back to 19th overall.
A lengthy gap with little to report, but that's
now changed with the arivl of the #23 Ginetta-Zytek
in the pitlane, and it's transfer from pit
apron to Strakka Racing garage. It looks quite
The #23 Strakka LMP1 car is still in the garage,
and as a result it has started to slip down
the order. Tommy moves up to 18th overall
again, as Nick Leventis in the black Relentless-sponsored
GZ09S drops off the bottom of the first screen.
Tommy's laptimes have been remarkably consistent,
Each one is a 3:47, give or take half a second
or so. It's impressive pace this late in the
race, and is helping to ease the RML Lola
forward steadily. On lap 254, Tommy is two
minutes behind the #12 Oreca LMP1 and three
laps adrfit of third in LMP2.
quarters distance. A mere six hours remaining.
( Driver: Erdos )
Tommy into the pitlane for a very swift and
efficient refuelling stop. The guys also cleared
out the vents and apertures and topped up
Having mentioned the Strakka Racing GZ09S,
a follow-up to note that the car's woes were
electrical - the Zytek engine refused to re-start
- but the team made a driver change and put
Danny Watts back into the car, and he left
again at just after twenty-past. The car resumed
in 22nd overall.
1st in class, 11th overall, the #31 Team Essex
Porsche RS Spyder on 278 laps
2nd in class, 12th overall, the #5 Team Goh
Porsche RS Spyder on 275 laps
3rd in class, 16th overall, the #33 Speedy
Racing Team Sebah Lola-Judd on 265 laps
4th in class, 18th overall, the #25 RML AD
Group Lola-Mazda on 263 laps
5th in class, 20th overall, the #24 Oak Racing
Pescarolo on 259 laps
Another major accident in race that has already
seen too many accidents. One of the Lola Aston
Martins, believed to be Primat in the #009,
has gone off into the tyre wall at the same
spot where Andy had his accident in 2007,
and Mike got airborne last year. Primat appears
to be OK.
( Driver: Erdos )
Tommy is one of most who elect to make a pitstop
during this safety car period. Tomy stays
in for another stint, on the same tyres.
One of the Kolles Audis, #15, has snapped
sideways behind the safety car and slammed
nose-on into the barriers.
The pack at the main pit straight has released
the cars behind it, whereas the second safety
car has not. Now the organisers are trying
to reassert their control by waving cars past
one pace car and collect them with the other
. . .perhaps. No, all cars now racing again,
although some confusion.
The damaged Kolles car is making a very slow
return to the pitlane.
The #3 Audi R15 has gone off on the left-hand
element at Indianapolis.
The JMB Ferrari has lost a wheel at Arnage
and is struggling back to the pits very slowly.
Tommy reports a loss of power. He says the
car feels like it's running on only one cylinder,
and it's "really bad". He is heading
back towards the pits very slowly.
The RML Lola is entering the Porsche Curves.
( Driver Change: Erdos - Newton )
Into the pit lane, and straight into the garage.
Mike and Tommy swap places.
There are reports of very light rain at the
The car is hauled out onto the pit apron for
Mike to set off, but as soon as the engines
fires up, Mike can tell from the jangling
noises from behind him that things are not
right, so the engine is switched off and the
#25 Lola returns to the garage. In the adjacent
garage, the #4 Creation is following a similar
routine, and has also just been pulled back
into its garage. The rain seems to have abated.
Mike climbs out of the car.
It has been officially confirmed that the
RML Lola Mazda #25 has retired from the 2009
Le Mans 24 Hours.
also refer to final Press