Tough Win for McNish & Ortelli
Allan McNish and Stephane Ortelli took a hard-fought win for ORECA Audi at the Silverstone 1000, after an incident-filled round of the Le Mans Endurance Series
With heavy rain falling for most of the race, much of the running in the first half of the six-hour event was done behind the safety car, and the conditions caught out many of the competitors.
However, as it began to dry in the second half of the race, the battle for the win was between the ORECA Audi and the Creation DBA Judd of Nicolas Minassian and Jamie Campbell-Walter.
Polesitter Minassian was the leader in the first three hours, while Campbell-Walter found himself battling nose to tail with first McNish - who passed to take the lead in the final hour - and then Ortelli, who maintained the lead to the chequered flag.
The gap between the two cars at the finish was just 6.569 seconds.
"The driving conditions were diabolical, some of the worst I've ever encountered in my career," McNish said.
"It was one of the most closely contested and hardest races of my career - it was nose to tail in the closing laps - a perfect final race for the Audi R8 in Britain."
Third place finish went to the Rollcentre Dallara of Martin Short, Joao Barbosa and Vanina Ickx - the third time this year that the latter earned a podium in the LMES.
Fourth overall and first in the LMP2 class were Claude-Yves Gosselin, Karim Ojjeh and Vincent Vosse, in their Paul Belmondo Racing Courage. And fifth overall as well as the GT1 class winner was the MenX Ferrari 550 Maranello, driven by Peter Kox, Robert Pergi and Jarek Janis.
The losers of the day were the Pescarolo of Jean-Christophe Boullion and Emmanuel Collard in the LMP1 category, and the Aston Martin of Darren Turner, Marc Goossens and Nikolay Fomenko in the GT1 category.
The Pescarolo fell victim to the weather conditions, with Boullion spinning in the first hour and damanging the car extensively. While the team was able to repair the damage, it again lost time later due to a fuel pick-up problem.
The Aston Martin drivers struggled to find a working set-up for the new car throughout the weekend.
CLASSIFIED: Pos Cl. Drivers Make Time 1. P1 Ortelli/Mcnish Audi R8 5:51:09.527 2. P1 Minassian/Campbell Walter DBA 03S + 6.569 3. P1 Barbosa/Short/Ickx Dallara Judd - LMP900 + 7 Laps 4. P2 Gosselin/Ojjeh/Vose Courage C65 + 8 Laps 5. GT1 Pergi/Kox/Janis Ferrari 550 Maranello + 8 Laps 6. P1 Hignett/Stack/Kurosawa Zytek 04S + 9 Laps 7. GT1 Bouchut/Vasiliev Ferrari 550 Maranello + 9 Laps 8. P2 Bennett/Vergers/Barazi Courage C65 + 10 Laps 9. GT2 Pompidou/Lieb Porsche 996 GT3 RSR + 10 Laps 10. P2 Newton/Erdos MG Lola Ex 264 + 10 Laps 11. P1 Shimoda/Chilton Zytec -4S + 10 Laps 12. GT1 Kaufmann/Tiemann Porsche 996 Bi-Turbo + 10 Laps 13. P2 Lienhard/Theys Lola B05/40 + 10 Laps 14. P1 Frei/Vann/Cochet Courage-C60 H + 11 Laps 15. GT1 Turner/Fomenko/Goosens Aston Martin DBR9 + 13 Laps 16. GT2 Groppi/Moccia/Rockenfeller Porsche 996 GT3 RSR + 13 Laps 17. GT1 Cressoni/Malucelli/Ramos Ferrari 550 Maranello + 13 Laps 18. P1 Keen/Moller Lister Hybrid + 13 Laps 19. P2 Berridge/Evans Lola + 13 Laps 20. GT2 Erik Nielsen/Thyrring/Ehret Porsche 996 GT3 RSR + 14 Laps 21. GT2 Kirkaldy/Kinch Ferrari 360 Modena GTC + 14 Laps 22. GT2 Lambert/Lefort/Palttala Porsche 996 GT3 RSR + 15 Laps 23. GT2 Rosa/Drudi/Babini Ferrari Modena + 16 Laps 24. GT2 Stanton/Johnson/Eagling TVR Tuscan T400R + 16 Laps 25. GT1 Bartyan/Pescatori/Seller Ferrari 550 Maranello + 16 Laps 26. P2 Rostan/Peugeot/Bruneau Pilbeam MP93 + 18 Laps 27. GT2 Collin/Felbermayr Porsche 996 GT3 RSR + 19 Laps 28. P2 Belmondo/Andre/Sharpe Courage C65 + 19 Laps 29. GT2 Petersen/Leutwiller/Lueders Porsche 996 GT3 RSR + 20 Laps 30. P2 Leroch/Greaves/Hahn Courage C65 + 23 Laps 31. GT1 Papolia/Sommereau/Clairy Chrysler Viper GTS/R + 24 Laps 32. GT2 Daniels/Simonsen Porsche 996 GT3 RSR + 30 Laps 33. GT2 Pearce/Hynes/Tomlinson TVR Tuscan T400R + 37 Laps 34. P1 Collard/Boullion Pescarolo-C60 + 38 Laps 35. GT1 Cole/Hooker/Lockie Saleen S7R + 43 Laps NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS: Cl. Drivers Make On Lap GT2 Cook/Youles/Hindley Porsche GT3 RS 126 GT2 Cocker/Sugden Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 121 P2 Binnie/Timpany/Hancock Lola B05/40 112 GT2 Kane/Hughes TVR Tuscan T400R 75 P1 Sretton/Camino Lola B98/10 74 GT2 Marsh/O'young Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 33 P2 Delaronde/Morris/Jones Tampolli 31 P1 Primat/Jouanny Dallara Nissan 16 P2 Tinseau/Briere/Amorin Courage 15 GT1 Kutemann/Gosse/Hugenholtz Ferrari 575 GTC 2 P1 Lammers/Ortiz/Gabbiani Dome S101 1