Hour three: Alboreto finally gives up his seat

Battle for the lead

Hour three: Alboreto finally gives up his seat

In the opening minutes of the third hour, Allan McNish found himself unexpectedly under pressure when Michele Alboreto temporarily moved away from the Audi gameplan and upped his pace. A couple of quick laps by the Scot appeared to solve the problem, but as the half-hour mark approached, Alboreto was back on McNish's tail. Further back, meanwhile, Frank Biela in the third Audi began to reel in the third-placed Panoz of David Brabham.
Both lead Audis pitted at 18:26, having completed 34 laps, with McNish swapping over to Stephane Ortelli, and Alboreto, in contrast, staying put in his car, not changing tyres and therefore leaving the Audi pit with a handy lead over Ortelli. Brabham pitted too, handing over to Jan Magnussen. All that gave the lead to Frank Biela, whose pitstop plan is set to leave him out of sequence with the other two Audis for the rest of the race, mishaps notwithstanding. Alboreto was second, Ortelli third and Magnussen fourth. Biela finally pitted after completing 36 laps - a 13-lap stint - and handed the car to Tom Kristensen.

As the next round of pit stops sorted out the rest of the top 10, Panoz found itself holding fourth through to sixth, with the Katoh/O'Connell/Raphanel version holding fifth ahead of the Nielsen/Graf/Baldi machine. First non-Audi/Panoz was the DAM'S Cadillac of Bernard/Collard/Montagny.

At 18:45 a major incident at Tertre Rouge involving the GT3R Porsches of the pole-sitting Larbre Competition car (Bouchut/Chereau/Goueslard*) and the Maury-Laribiere/Chauvin/Zadra* car brought out the safety car for the second time and brought on another rash of out of sequence pit stops. Alboreto finally got out of the number seven Audi, handing over to Rinaldo Capello and giving the lead back to Ortelli's number nine car.

McNish: "The car felt extremely good until the first safety car. We picked a bit of rubber up during the safety car period, so it took a little while to get the balance back, but after that it was fantastic. I'm just going to go and find out if Michele's staying in for the whole 24 hours..."

Alboreto: "Staying in is a good way to gain 20 or 25 seconds at a pit stop, so I think it was a good decision. I feel really good, so it's not a problem.'


Softly, softly, catchy monkey, so they say... The number 34 ROC-VW is edging its way up the leader board, holding 11th after the round of safety car pit stops. In the batttle for GTS honours, Chrysler holds the edge, with the Beretta/Wendlinger/Dupuy ORECA car heading the sister ORECA machine of Archer/Duez/Huisman. Best Corvette is the number 64 Pilgrim/Collins/Freon car, third in class. With the loss of the Larbre Competition GT3R, Dick Barbour Racing has lost its main competition and lies in a comfortable lead.


The number 20, all-Dutch Lola, running 12th, lost a wheel at the end of the Mulsanne straight after the deployment of the safety car. Tom Coronel was at the wheel. No decision yet on if the car can be brought back to the pits.
Michelin leads all classes at the three-hour mark. Tyres are being double-stinted as a matter of course, but Michelin is happy for the teams to leave the tyres on for triple stints when the sun sets and temperatures fall.


Pos No Drivers Car Class Laps/Time
9, L Aiello, A McNish, S Ortelli, Audi R8 (900), 41 laps
7, M Alboreto, C Abt, R Capello, Audi R8 (900), 0.700s
8, F Biela, T Kristensen, E Pirro, Audi R8 (900), 2m36.075s
11, D Brabham, J Magnussen, M Andretti, Panoz Spyder LMP (900), 2m36.186s
10, J Nielsen, K Graf, M Baldi, Panoz Spyder LMP (900) 1 lap
12, H Katoh, J O'Connell, P H Rapanel, Panoz Spyder LMP (900) 1 lap
21, M Schiattarella, D de Radiguez, E Naspetti, Lola-Judd B2K (900) 1 lap
1, F Lagorce, B Leitzinger, A Wallace, Cadillac LMP (900) 1 lap
24, S Johansson, J Matthews, G Smith, Reynard-Judd 2KQ (900) 1 lap
3, E Bernard, E Collard, F Montagny, Cadillac LMP (900) 1 lap


Class No Driver Car Time
900 9 A NcNish Audi R8 3m38.485s


Class No Drivers Car Class Time
34, J C Boullion, J Gene, J Policand, ROC VW @ 1 lap
52, T Archer, M Duez, p Huisman, Chrysler Viper @ 3 laps
83, D Muller, L Luhr, B Wollek, Porsche GT3R @ 4 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

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

shares
comments
Hour One: Audis, flames and saftey cars

Previous article

Hour One: Audis, flames and saftey cars

Next article

Hour four: Audi have it under control

Hour four: Audi have it under control
Load comments
The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever Plus

The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever

Had FIA GT boss Stephane Ratel had his way, the Maserati MC12 would never have been allowed to set foot in his series. It duly proved the class of the field that most had expected, but the Balance of Performance that its superiority spawned would keep GT1 battles tight and bring long-term benefits that sportscar racing enjoys today

GT
Sep 21, 2021
Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage Plus

Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage

The E-Type may be the most famous of all road-going Jaguars, but that didn't always translate into success on the track. After winning on its competition debut in 1961, motorsport success seemed an inevitability, but things didn’t turn out to be quite that straightforward

GT
Aug 6, 2021
Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60 Plus

Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60

It’s 60 years since the Jaguar E-type arrived and caused a sensation. As our resident racer Ben Anderson discovered when he got behind the wheel of two special racing versions at Brands Hatch, the thrill of driving them hasn't diminished over time

GT
Jul 31, 2021
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