14hrs: Veloqx in charge
Johnny Herbert's progress at the front of the field in the 2004 Le Mans 24 Hours continues unchecked as morning breaks over La Sarthe. After 14 hours the Audi UK Team Veloqx R8 is probably the only car not to have encountered a single problem in what has so far been a textbook performance.
Herbert's first pitstop of his current triple stint saw the team take the time to change the engine cover to one set up for daytime running. There is no sign however that Veloqx is feeling the pressure from the hard-charging Team Goh R8 that has chased the British car all through the night.
Henri Pescarolo's C60, in the hands of Frenchman Soheil Ayari, is continuing a remarkable run in third place and looks safe in that position for the moment. However the French team will have to monitor the progress of the Champion Audi which has just passed the Rollcentre Dallara for fourth.
Considering that 12 hours ago the white R8 was buried in a tyre wall with significant front end damage, it makes it all the more incredible that Emanuele Pirro is in a position to be fighting hard for a podium finish. Built like tanks these Audis...
Emotions are running high at Rollcentre, which can be proud of the fact that its Dallara has run almost without hitch all race long. "It was inevitable that the Audi would catch us," said team owner and driver Martin Short. "But we are racers and we have not given up yet. It would be amazing to get a podium finish and that's what we want. There is still a bloody long way to go."
The Kondo Dome is another to have run strongly through the night but on the turn of the hour the Japanese entry has run into problems and has been wheeled into the garage for closer inspection. It still remains sixth ahead of the sister Pescarolo C60 being driven by Nicolas Minassian.
Tom Coronel dragged the Racing For Holland Dome back into the top ten for the third time in the race after the Dutch team's seemingly endless catalogue of problems. But just when it thought it had used all its bad luck up, the car was rolled back into the garage.
"Everything was going very well," said Coronel, "then the Japanese Audi went through a gravel trap in front of me. I heard a strange noise which initially I thought was just gravel, until I had problems with second gear. I think it's broken.
"It's a shame. Our lap times were really good. We have a good pace and this was always going to be the year when we had a chance of the podium. I think that has probably gone now..." The car is currently running 11th in the hands of Justin Wilson.
Tomas Enge appears to have the GTS class under control in his Prodrive Ferrari and holds a six lap advantage over his nearest challenger which is Olivier Beretta in the Corvette. Stephane Ortelli continues to lead the GT class with the Freisinger Porsche ahead of Bam Orbit Racing's similar 911 GT3.
Davies/Herbert/Smith Audi R8 LM1 219 laps completed
Ara/Capello/Kristensen Audi R8 LM1 218 laps
Ayari/Comas/Treluyer Pescarolo-Judd LM1 213 laps
Short/Barff/Barbosa Dallara-Judd LM1 211 laps
Lehto/Werner/Pirro Audi R8 LM1 211 laps
Katoh/Michigami/Fukuda Dome-Mugen LM1 206 laps
Collard/Bourdais/Minassian Pescarolo-Judd LM1 202 laps
Enge/Kox/Menu Ferrari 550 GTS 202 laps
Andre/Leuenberger/Vanni Lola-Judd LM1 196 laps
Gavin/Beretta/Magnussen Corvette GTS 196 laps
Coronel/Wilson/Firman Dome-Judd LM1 194 laps
Biela/Kaffer/McNish Audi R8 LM1 192 laps
Fellows/O'Connell/Papis Corvette GTS 191 laps
Kelleners/Ortelli/Dumas Porsche GT 190 laps
Stirling/Lupberger/McGarrity Nasamax-Judd LM1 187 laps
Hindery/Lieb/Rockenfeller Porsche GT 187 laps
Lammers/Dyson/Kaneishi Dome-Judd LM1 187 laps
Kurosawa/Nishizawa/Oriodo Porsche GT 187 laps
Maasen/Bergmeister/Long Porsche GT 186 laps
Nielsen/Elgaard/Moller Lister LM1 184 laps
Alphand/Laveille/Almeras Porsche GT 184 laps
Burgess/Collin/Bagnall Porsche GT 183 laps
Bouchut/Goueslard/Dupard Ferrari 550 GTS 183 laps
McRae/Rydell/Turner Ferrari 550 GTS 182 laps
Wilson/Montain/Hugenholtz Ferrari 360 GT 181 laps
Berridge/Caine/Stockton TVR GT 181 laps
Donaldson/Fisken/Nielsen Porsche GT 180 laps
Hezemans/Deletraz/Barde Ferrari 575 GTS 176 laps
Khan/Smith/Sugden Porsche GT 171 laps
Newton/Erdos/Kinch Lola-MG LM1 170 laps
Tomlinson/Greensall/Evans TVR GT 168 laps
Bosch/Sullivan/Biagi Ferrari 575 GTS 163 laps
Binnie/Field/Sutherland Lola-Judd LM2 163 laps
Terada/Roussel/Porta WR LM2 138 laps
Sharpe/Hyde/Cunningham Morgan GT 132 laps
Bouvet/Gommendy/Briere WR LM2 82 laps
Wallace/Brabham/Shimoda Zytek LM1 167 laps
Rosa/van Merkstein/Caffi Porsche GT 146 laps
Melo/Daoudi/de Fournoux Ferrari 360 GT 133 laps
Frei/Gounon/Hancock Courage-AER LM2 127 laps
Jeanette/Pickering/Derlot Courage-Willman LM2 124 laps
Maurylaribiere/Boulay/Besson Reynard-Lehman LM1 122 laps
Belmondo/Gosselin/Saviozzi Courage-AER LM2 80 laps
Vasiliev/Fomenko/Nearn Porsche GT 65 laps
Bourdais/Blanchemain/Berville Panoz LM1 54 laps
Andrews/Lockie/Kumpen Lola-Caterpillar LM1 35 laps
Field/Dayton/Connor Lola-Judd LM1 29 laps
Warnock/Matthews/Daniels Porsche 27 laps
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