Hour 12: Capello goes for a spin

Pole-winner Rinaldo Capello tried making it a little bit easier for race-leader Tom Kristensen by spinning his Audi R8 into the gravel during the 12th hour of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Hour 12: Capello goes for a spin

The Italian had taken over from double-stinter Laurent Aiello in the number 2 Audi, but was caught out on the entry to the Dunlop Chicane. By the time the car was dragged out and able to rejoin, it was three laps behind its sister machine. Game over?

Ironically, Kristensen had executed a cheeky spin at the same spot just a couple of minutes before, but missed the gravel and the barriers. When you're luck's with you...

Behind the two Audis, the Bentley enjoyed a relatively worry-free hour, while the LMP675 Reynard-Lehmann consolidated its extremely surprising fourth place.

The number six Cadillac swapped drivers to Christophe Tinseau, but is a lap down on the Reynard.

Further back, the number 20 Ascari tumbled out of the top six and down the order after stopping on the circuit with fuel-related problems.

Good news: The weather is holding and with only an hour to go before sunrise, it seems the rest of the night will be shower-free.


The Roc Reynard continues to lead the 675 class, maintaining its fourth place overall as the race reaches the halfway mark. It is a lap ahead of the fifth placed car, the Dams Cadillac of Taylor/Angelelli/Tinseau from the 900 class, and its nearest 675 rival is the Welter Gerard car driven by de Fournoux/Daoudi/Terada over 30 laps behind.

While the last hour all the action seemed to be in the 675 class, more excitement was found in the GTS class in this hour-long section. The leading Corvette came in for a driver change, with Ron Fellows replacing Scott Pruett in the No 63 car. The Corvette changed wet tyres for intermediates and a relaxed Scott Pruett commented: "The car works real good. We had some treacherous times in the wet, but the Goodyear tyres are working well.

"I was out there cruising, being real careful with a two-lap lead. If it comes to two o'clock in the afternoon we know we can push."

However, shortly after Ron Fellows spun at the Ford Chicane into the gravel, possibly not finding as much grip as he would like on his new tyres. Fellows got out of the gravel and came round to pit, with mechanics taking a load of gravel out from the car. This allowed the stablemate Goodwrench Corvette of Pilgrim/Collins/Freon to catch up, getting as close as 59 seconds back on the same lap, while circulating La Sarthe almost two minutes quicker. But then the No 64 car dived into the pits.

"A diff belt broke," said Andy Pilgrim, "so they are changing the gearbox."

With Pilgrim in for a lengthy stop, the Saleen of Borcheller/Gavin/Konrad was pushing hard to take second place.

No change in the GT category, with the No 83 Porsche of Rosa/Babini/Drudi keeping its class lead safe, two laps ahead of the Freisinger Motorsport Porsche of Jeannette /Dumas/Haezebrouck.


1 (900) F.Biela/T.Kristensen/E.Pirro, Audi R8, Joest Audi Sport, 154 laps
2 (900) R Capello/L Aiello/C Pescatori, Audi R8, Joest Audi Sport, + 3 laps
8 (GTP) A.Wallace/B.Leitzinger/E.Vande Poele, Bentley EXP Speed 8, Team Bentley, + 10 laps
38 (675) J.D. Deletraz/P.Farbe/J.Gene Reynard-Lehmann 01Q ROC Competition, + 13 laps
6 (900) W.Taylor/M.Angelelli/C.Tinseau, Cadillac Northstar LMP, DAMS, + 13 laps
14 (900) S.Ara/N.Amorim/M.Kondo, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, ORECA Chrysler, + 14 laps
16 (900) O.Beretta/K.Wendlinger/P.Lamy, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, Team Playstation, + 14 laps
63 (GTS) R.Fellows/J.O'Connell/S.Pruett, Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, Corvette Racing, + 15 laps
64 (GTS) A.Pilgrim/K.Collins/F.Freon, Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, Corvette Racing, + 17 laps
62 (GTS) I.McKellar/B.Lambert/J.Mowlem, Saleen-Ford S7R, Ray Mallock Limited, + 17 laps

Aiello/Capello, Audi R8, Team Joest Audi Sport,
3m39.046s


38 (675) J.D. Deletraz/P.Farbe/J.Gene
Reynard-Lehmann 01Q ROC Competition, +13 laps
63 (GTS) R.Fellows/J.O'Connell/S.Pruett,
Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, Corvette Racing, +15 laps
83 (GT) G.Rosa/F.Babini/L.Drudi, Porsche 911
GT3-RS, Seikel Motorsport, + 18 laps


15 (900) Y.Dalmas/F.Montagny/S.Sarrazin, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, ORECA Chrysler
36 (675) D.de Radigues/S.Maassen/H.Matsuda, Reynard-Judd 01Q, Dick Barbour Racing
11 (900) K.Graf/J.Davies/G.Formato, Panoz LMP 07, Panoz Motorsports
12 (900) D.Brabham/J.Magnussen/F.Lagorce, Panoz LMP 07, Panoz Motorsports
3 (900) J.Herbert/R.Kelleners/D.Theys, Audi R8, Champion Racing
10 (900) J.Nielsen/H.Katoh/C.Elgaard, Dome-Judd S101, Den Bla Avis
55 (GTS) V.Vosse/C.Rosenblad/V.Ickx, Chrysler Viper GTS-R Paul Belmondo Racing
(GTP) M.Brundle/S.Ortelli/G.Smith, Bentley EXP Speed 8, Team Bentley, gearbox
(900) E.Collard/M.Goossens/E.Bernard, Cadillac Northstar LMP, DAMS, stopped
(900) S.Johansson/T.Coronel/P.Lemarie, Audi R8, Johansson Motorsport, accident damage
GT R Donovan/T Lingner/C MacAllister, Porsche 911 GT3, Racing Engineering, unknown
(675) A.Reid/W.Hughes/J.Kane, MG-Lola EX257, MG Sport, engine
(675) M.Duno/J.Graham/D.Murry, Reynard-Judd 01Q, Dick Barbour Racing, accident
(GTS) T.Seiler/W.Brun/C.Slater, Saleen-Ford S7R, Konrad Motorsport, accident
(GTS) D.Terrien/J.Cochet/J.P. Dayraut, Chrysler Viper GTS-R, Equipe de France FFSA, accident
(675) W.Carway/M.O'Connell/F.Migault, Pilbeam-Nissan MP84 Rowan Racing, accident

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