Hour eight: Abt takes up the cudgels

Battle for the lead

Hour eight: Abt takes up the cudgels

Audi driver Christian Abt leads the 2000 Le Mans 24 Hours by 1m13.966 seconds from the sister car of Frank Biela, Tom Kristensen and Emanuele Pirro at the psychologically-important one-third mark.
Third place is held by Allan McNish in the third factory Audi, two laps behind his team-mates. Fourth is the domain of David Brabham another 1m12.735s adrift, and fifth is held by the number two Panoz Spyder of Hiroki Katoh, Johnny O'Connell and Pierre-Henri Raphanel, which is four laps down.

The circuit de la Sarthe is now totally dark and the track temperature is considerably cooler than during the day, giving vastly-improved conditions for tyres and turbos - if drivers are feeling brave enough to charge.

Allan McNish took over the number nine car from Laurent Aiello after their unscheduled pitstop for a new gearbox and - with a touch of déjà vu - returned to the fray in fourth place behind David Brabham's Panoz. The Scot passed Brabham on lap 107 then set setting a storming fastest lap of 3:37.995 a few laps later.


The P675 class is being led by the Terada/Balandras/Boulay WR Peugeot, 26 laps behind.
The Beretta/Wendlinger/Archer Dodge Viper leads the GTS class from the sister car driven by Archer/Duez/Huisman by a lap.
The Dick Barbour Porsche GT3-R is running like clockwork in the GT class, sitting pretty in 18th place overall and 16 laps behind.


Both Reynard ROC VWs have retired from the race with engine problems. The cars had been tipped as a dark horse for some kind of honours at Le Mans.
The Bscher BMW LMR has been pushed back into the garage from ninth place after Geoff Lees lost the clutch at Indianapolis. "It just went bang," said Lees.
Guy Smith returned to the Johansson Matthews garage in the Reynard 2KQ at 2335 for what team boss John Wickham called "a routine gearbox change".

Pos No Drivers Car Class Laps/Time

7, M Alboreto, C Abt, R Capello, Audi R8 (900), 119 laps
8, F Biela, T Kristensen, E Pirro, Audi R8 (900), +1m13.966s
9, L Aiello, A McNish, S Ortelli, Audi R8 (900), 1 lap
11, D Brabham, J Magnussen, M Andretti, Panoz Spyder LMP (900), 1 lap
12, H Katoh, J O'Connell, P H Rapanel, Panoz Spyder LMP (900), 3 laps
3, E Bernard, E Collard, F Montagny, Cadillac LMP (900) 4 laps
22, K Tsuchiya, M Kondo, A Iida, Panoz Spyder LMP (900), 6 laps
16, S Bourdais, O Grouillard, E Clerico, C Peugeot (900), 7 laps
24, S Johansson, J Matthews, G Smith, Reynard-Judd 2KQ (900), 8 laps
23, T Suzuki, M Kageyama, M Kageyama, Panoz Spyder LMP (900), 9 laps


Class No Driver Car Time
900 9, A McNish Audi R8 3m37.995s


Class No Drivers Car Class Time
36, S Boulay, Y Terada, R Balandras, WR Peugeot (675), 23 laps
51, O Beretta, K Wendlinger, D Dupuy, Oreca Viper, 8 laps
83, D Muller, L Luhr, B Wollek, Porsche GT3R, 15 laps


No Drivers Car Laps Reason
4, M Goossens, C Tinseau, K Kolby, DAM'S Cadillac LMP (900), fire - 5 laps
5, Y Dalmas, N Minassian, J P Belloc, ORECA Reynard-Mopar 2KQ (900), oil pressure - 1 lap
20, J Lammers, P Kox, T Coronel, Konrad Lola B2K/10 (900), retired
33, J D Deletraz, R Kelleners, D Terrien, ROC VW (675), engine,
77, C Bouchut, J Chereau, P Gouselard, Porsche GT3-R, accident, 34 laps
34, J-C Boullion, J Gene, G Policand, Reynard Volkswagen (675), engine

For a full list of race positions at the six-hour mark click here.

shares
comments
Hour eight: Abt takes up the cudgels

Previous article

Hour eight: Abt takes up the cudgels

Next article

Hour 10: Abt is still hanging on in there

Hour 10: Abt is still hanging on in there
Load comments
The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat Plus

The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat

It's a significant achievement to win one 24-hour race in a year, let alone two, and with different manufacturers, but that's exactly what ROWE Racing did in 2020 at the Nurburgring and Spa. This weekend's German classic offers the DTM newcomer a chance of another unique double to add to its growing collection of accolades

GT
Jun 3, 2021
The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story Plus

The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story

The manufacturers were unconvinced – and even hostile – when Stephane Ratel launched GT3 in 2006. Now, 15 years on from its debut, they’ve sold more than 2000 cars and counting, but its continued expansion puts the increasingly globalised category at risk of losing its roots

GT
May 25, 2021
The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT Plus

The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT

With the Silver pairings that dominated 2020 now banned, Mercedes pair Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie could be in the box seat after winning last year's Pro-Am crown. But a swarm of Lamborghinis, with the defending outright champion among them, will ensure they face tough opposition

GT
May 21, 2021
How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations Plus

How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations

Time in a thoroughbred racer leaves you searching for time in yourself, especially when the rewards for total commitment are so high, as our man discovered at Snetterton

GT
Apr 28, 2021
How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy Plus

How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy

Raffaele Marciello once appeared to be Ferrari’s next Italian F1 star, but is now under the pay of its German arch-rival in GTs – and he’s very happy with his life

GT
Apr 8, 2021
Why GTE's future is a conundrum with no easy answers Plus

Why GTE's future is a conundrum with no easy answers

The convergence between the World Endurance Championship and IMSA over LMDh regulations offers a bright future for sportscar racing, but the imminent demise of IMSA's GT Le Mans class creates wider issues to which no catch-all solution exists

GT
Feb 3, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Plus

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it

GT
Jan 23, 2021
Why a lost F1 hope is still in demand aged 65 Plus

Why a lost F1 hope is still in demand aged 65

There's a saying among retired folk that life begins at 60, but endurance specialist Alain Ferte has never used the 'R' word. Some 40 years since his crowning glory in F3, he's still a driver in demand and gunning for more 24-hour racing success this weekend

GT
Jan 15, 2021