Hour 22: Downpours bring out safety car

Battle for the lead

Hour 22: Downpours bring out safety car

As the final two hours of the 69th Le Mans approached, the world's most famous race proved it had a final sting in its tail when the heavens opened engulfing the La Sarthe track in a deluge of such proportions the safety car was brought out.
After most of the field had made its way back onto slicks, all of the remaining 21 drivers were forced to come back into the pits to take on full wet weather tyres.

Halfway through the 22nd hour, the two Le Mans safety cars (two because the circuit is so long) made their way out onto track. The lead number one Audi completed yet another seamless pitstop in the hands of Emanuele Pirro, while the second placed sister R8 opted to change drivers, putting Laurent Aiello in the car in place of Christian Pescatori.

The ever-present third-placed Bentley was not far behind the Audis on the way into the pits and Eric Van de Poele took advantage of the pace car conditions to take a lap back off Pirro.

Pedro Lamy in the lead Chrysler-Mopar has retained fourth place from the number 17 Courage-Peugeot after sole remaining Pescarolo dropped three laps amid the confusion. The Redon/Bourdais/Boullion car had taken the gap to the Chrysler to just over a minute, but has stopped with technical problems.



Despite the deluge, the ROC has made up a place to seventh overall thanks to attrition among the big bangers as it continues its dominance of the LMP675 class, 33 laps behind. It's now back behind the Fellows/O'Connell/Pruett Corvette that is in sixth overall and 30 laps behind.

It hasn't been all plain sailing for the lead Corvette. At the 1400 mark the car was wheeled back into the garage for attention to its starter motor and has yet to reappear. The Saleen S7R that has previously been second in class is also slipping down the field while it languishes in the garage with what is thought to be an engine problem.

The Rosa/Babini/Drudi Porsche 911 GT3 has stretched out a one-lap lead - 36 laps down - over the Jeannette/Dumas/Haezebroeck GT3 as the GT class battle subsides.


1 (900) F.Biela/T.Kristensen/E.Pirro, Audi R8, Joest Audi Sport, 295 laps
2 (900) R Capello/L Aiello/C Pescatori, Audi R8, Joest Audi Sport, + 1 lap
8 (GTP) A.Wallace/B.Leitzinger/E.Vande Poele, Bentley EXP Speed 8, Team Bentley, + 13 laps
16 (900) O.Beretta/K.Wendlinger/P.Lamy, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, Team Playstation, + 22 laps
17 (900) J C. Boullion/S.Bourdais/L.Redon, Courage-Peugeot C60, Pescarolo Sport, +25 laps
63 (GTS) R.Fellows/J.O'Connell/S.Pruett, Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, Corvette Racing, + 30 laps
38 (675) J.D. Deletraz/P.Farbe/J.Gene, Reynard-Lehmann 01Q ROC Competition, + 33 laps
6 (900) W.Taylor/M.Angelelli/C.Tinseau, Cadillac Northstar LMP, DAMS, + 35 laps
83 (GT) G.Rosa/F.Babini/L.Drudi, Porsche 911 GT3-RS, Seikel Motorsport, + 37 laps
77 (GT) G.Jeannette/R.Dumas/P.Haezebrouck, Porsche 911 GT3-RS, Freisinger Motorsport, + 38 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, +33 laps
63 (GTS) R.Fellows/J.O'Connell/S.Pruett,
Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, Corvette Racing, +30 laps
83 (GT) G Rosa/F Babini/L Drudi, Porsche 911
GT3-RS, Seikel Motorsport, +36 laps

(900) S Ara/N Amorim/M Kondo, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, ORECA Chrysler, accident
(GTS) I McKellar/B Lambert/J Mowlem, Saleen S7R, RML, engine
(900) J Lammers/V Hillebrand/D Crevils, Dome-Judd, Racing for Holland, electrics
(675) W Lupberger/B Collins/H Toivonen, Ascari, Team Ascari, engine
(900) Y.Dalmas/F.Montagny/S.Sarrazin, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, ORECA Chrysler, engine
B Mazzuccola/V Rice/C Wagner, Callaway Corvette, Aspen Knolls, engine
(675) D.de Radigues/S.Maassen/H.Matsuda, Reynard-Judd 01Q, Dick Barbour Racing, unknown
(675) C Hurtgen/R Fairbanks/C Gleason, Lola Nissan, Roock-Knighthawk Racing, engine
(675) K McGarrity/M Blundell/J Bailey, MG, MG Sport, engine
(900) K.Graf/J.Davies/G.Formato, Panoz LMP 07, Panoz Motorsports, engine
(900) D.Brabham/J.Magnussen/F.Lagorce, Panoz LMP 07, Panoz Motorsports, unknown
(900) J.Herbert/R.Kelleners/D.Theys, Audi R8, Champion Racing, engine
(900) J.Nielsen/H.Katoh/C.Elgaard, Dome-Judd S101, Den Bla Avis, engine
X Pompidou/S Maxwell/K Zwart, Ascari, Team Ascari, accident
(GTS) V.Vosse/C.Rosenblad/V.Ickx, Chrysler Viper GTS-R Paul Belmondo Racing, accident
(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) P Gache/A Beltoise/J Policand, Courage, SMG, accident
JC Lagnez/G De Galzain/A Kumpen, Chrysler Viper, Paul Belmondo Racing, accident
GT R Donovan/T Lingner/C MacAllister, Porsche 911 GT3, Racing Engineering, unknown
(GTS) E Clerico/D Cottaz/B Derichebourg, Courage-Peugeot, Pescarolo Sport, disqualified
(900) S Johansson/T Coronel/P Lemarie, Audi R8R, Johansson Motorsport, electrics
(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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