H23: Last-minute battle in GT2
|Sunday, June 18th 2006, 14:22 GMT|
In another twist to the story of the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans, the long-time leader of the GT2 class, the No. 83 Seikel Motorsport Porsche, has run into problems and was about to lose the lead to the factory Panoz as the race moved into its final hour.
While coasting to an easy victory, having led the class since the fourth hour of the race, Dominik Farnbacher was forced to stop on the track after the Mulsanne corner when the 911 GT3 RSR's gear lever broke off in his hand.
The German driver did eventually make it back to the pits after several aborted attempts, and there is now a race to repair the car before it is passed for the lead by the No. 81 Panoz driven by Richard Dean.
Dean is not without his own problems, however, after the bright orange Esperante shed a large part of its rear undertray as the British driver pushed to catch the stricken Porsche.
If the Panoz wins, it will actually be the US marque's first victory at La Sarthe on the tenth anniversary of its first participation in the 24 Hours.
In the meantime Audi's remarkable No. 8 R10 TDI continues to stroke to victory with three-time winner Emanuele Pirro at the wheel. All the Italian needs to do now is cross the line, as he will be mathematically uncatchable before the end of the race.
Sebastien Loeb has been given the honour of finishing the race in the second-placed No. 17 Pescarolo, while Allan McNish is third in the second Audi.
Corvette continues at the front in GT1 with the No. 64 car, but there were more problems for the No. 009 Aston Martin, which dropped back to fifth with an electrical problem.
RML's British Lola team remains in control of LMP2.