Hour two: McNish takes lead from Brabham

Battle for the lead

Hour two: McNish takes lead from Brabham

Audi driver Allan McNish leads the 2000 Le Mans 24 Hours at the two-hour mark from the sister R8 driven by Frank Biela.
The second hour of the race was marked by some great wheel-to-wheel action as Audi and Panoz duelled for the race lead. The Joest team cooled the pace after they had passed the Panoz in an effort to squeeze another lap out of the R8's fuel tank.

The track went green at 1706, and Panoz driver David Brabham immediately came under intense pressure from McNish.

Brabham held up McNish up for just over two laps - and this allowed the Scot's team-mates Michele Alboreto and Frank Biela to close on the leading pair.

McNish finally made it past on lap 16 at the first chicane on the Mulsanne Straight. McNish immediately began to stretch the R8's legs and pull away from Brabham.

The Panoz driver was also swallowed by Alboreto a lap later at exactly the same place.

By lap 19 McNish had built a 4.5 second lead over Alboreto and continued to stretch that lead by half a second a lap over the Italian.

Brabham held-off Biela gamely until the Panoz driver pitted on lap 22 - at the same time as McNish. Both took fuel, no tyres and both stayed in the car. That allowed Biela into the lead by a 31.616-second margin.

He came into the pits on lap 24 - giving the lead back to McNish by a 5.207 second margin. At the same time Brabham took third back from Alboreto.

The number two Panoz Spyder lay in fifth place overall after a spirited drive by Hiroshi Kato in the opening stages of the race.

All the top teams have chosen to double stint drivers over the opening two hours.


GTS polesitter Olivier Beretta has retaken the class lead after the second round of pitstops and had a 1m5s leading margin in the class at the two-hour mark. Dick Barbour Porsche GT3-R driver Dirk Muller now leads GT by 1.4s from Christophe Bouchut's Larbre Porsche.


Christophe Tinseau has sustained burns to his right arm following the fire that halted his DAMS Cadillac on lap six. The Frenchman also lost his eyebrows and eyelashes in the oil fire that consumed his car.Andy Wallace had to pit early after he was forced to switch to the reserve tank and ease off two laps earlier than expected. Co-driver Butch Leitzinger rejoined the race in 15th place. Eric van de Poele spun the other factory Cadillac into the tyrewall on lap 24 at the second chicane on the Mulsanne Straight. He limped back to the pits and retired.

Top 10
Pos No Drivers Car ClassLaps/Time

1 9, L Aiello, A McNish, S Ortelli, Audi R8 (900), 27 laps
2 7, M Alboreto, C Abt, R Capello, Audi R8 (900), 6.976s
3 11, D Brabham, J Magnussen, M Andretti, Panoz Spyder LMP (900), 25.057
4 8, F Biela, T Kristensen, E Pirro, Audi R8 (900), 33.819
5 12, H Katoh, J O'Connell, P H Rapanel, Panoz Spyder LMP (900), 2m19.301
6 10, J Nielsen, K Graf, M Baldi, Panoz Spyder LMP (900), @ 1 lap
7 3, E Bernard, E Collard, F Montagny, DAMS Cadillac (900), @ 1 lap
8 21, M Schiattarella, D de Radiguez, E Naspetti, Lola-Judd B2K (900), @ 1 lap
9 24, S Johansson, J Matthews, G Smith, Reynard 2KQ (900), @ 1 lap
10 1, F Lagorce, B Leitzinger, A Wallace, Cadillac (900)

Fastest Lap:
Class No Driver Car Time
900 9 A NcNish Audi R8 3m39.198s

Class Leaders
Class No Drivers Car Class Time
LMP 675 34, J C Boullion, J Gene, J Policand, ROC VW @ 1 lap
GTS 51, O Beretta, K Wendlinger, D Dupuy, Oreca Viper (GTS) @ 2 laps
GT 83, D Muller, L Luhr, B Wollek, Porsche GT3R @ 3 laps

Retirements
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


shares
comments
Hour one: Audis, flames and safety cars

Previous article

Hour one: Audis, flames and safety cars

Next article

Hour three: Alboreto finally gives up his seat

Hour three: Alboreto finally gives up his seat
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