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Ayari, Verdon-Roe Exchange Blame

Pescarolo's Soheil Ayari and Rollcentre's Bobby Verdon-Roe each blamed each other for the midnight crash that is almost certain to prevent Pescarolo from grabbing a win at the Le Mans race

Ayari and Verdon-Roe crashed at the first chicane and the Pescarolo-Judd car lost extensive time in the pits having the rear wing mounting changed. It dropped from a sixth position to 14th.

"I think that he forgot to brake," said Ayari of Verdon-Roe. "The pace was coming easily to me before that, and he just hit the back of me."

Verdon-Roe, who managed to get his car back to the pits, was visibly shaken by the incident but did not accept the blame for the incident.

"That was a near-death experience," he said. "I was approaching the first chicane and he pulled in front of me. He braked earlier than I expected - at around 200 metres, when we normally brake at 120-130 metres. I jinked out to miss him and braked hard, and just started to spin.

"I didn't know that I had hit him, I had my eyes closed. I can't have hit him hard because there is hardly any damage on my car."

Ayari dismissed the suggestion that he had braked so early. "I was lapping in the 3m39s at the time, so you explain to me how I could do that and brake so early."

Eric Helary replaced Ayari in the #17 car and returned to the race 14th overall - 11 laps down on the leader, or 45 minutes in arrears. This appears to have dashed all remaining hopes of victory for that car.

Verdon-Roe's Dallara returned to the pits covered in fire extinguisher fluid. "There was some flame from an exhaust, so the marshals put it out," Verdon-Roe explained.

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