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Hour 8: Biela takes over the top

Frank Biela stepped into the race-leading works Audi R8 and saw the car's lead narrow to just 1.775s over its sister car, with Christian Pescatori at the wheel, at the very end of the 8th hour

Behind them, with the Champion-run Audi still in the pits with apparently terminal gearbox problems, The number 17 Courage driven by Sebastian Bourdais had annexed third, a full lap ahead of the remaining Bentley driven by Andy Wallace.

Chryslers held the fifth and sixth spots as the rain again fell heavily towards the end of the eighth hour, with the Franck Montagny-driven 15 car heading the Ara-pedalled machine by a lap.

The leading LMP 675 car, the Reynard-Lehmann of Gene/Deletraz/Fabre held the seventh spot, despite a spin at Indianapolis, while Ascari was putting on a strong showing - by dint of surviving the problems that had beset others - to hold down eighth with the Harri Toivonen-driven car.

As an indication of the high rate of attrition, the GTS Corvettes held ninth and tenth positions, with Johnny O'Connell keeping the number 63 machine ahead of Kelly Collins in the 64 car.


In the 675 class, the No 38 ROC Reynard driven by Jordi Gene has not had things all its own way. With over 45 minutes of the eighth hour gone, the Spaniard spun his car into the gravel at the first chicane. He managed to get back on track but in doing so lost one place in the overall leaderboard and is now seventh.

Second in the class is the MG of Blundell/McGarrity/Bailey 13 laps back from the Reynard in 27th place. Mark Blundell's problems in the new car were confounded when his lights failed - not ideal on a dark and rainy La Sarthe.

In GTS, the Corvettes are still in command, with the No 63 Corvette of Ron Fellows, Scott Pruett and Johnny O'Connel moving up to ninth overall. The second Goodwrench Corvette of Pilgrim/Collins/Freon is five minutes behind its stablemate and on the hour-mark was lapping a few seconds faster a lap in the difficult conditions. Closest competition to the two Corvettes is the No 62 RML Saleen with Ian McKellar at the wheel, currently in 14th place, three laps down from the leading Corvette.

The GT battle continues to be headed by the Roas/Babini/Drudi Seikel Motorsport Porsche. The Italian driver-line up are in 13th overall, two laps ahead of the next GT runner, the Fresisinger Porsche 911 of Jeannette/Dumas/Haezebrouck.


1 (900) F.Biela/T.Kristensen/E.Pirro, Audi R8, Joest Audi Sport, 100 laps
2 (900) R Capello/L Aiello/C Pescatori, Audi R8, Joest Audi Sport, 100 laps
17 (900) J C. Boullion/S.Bourdais/L.Redon, Courage-Peugeot C60, Pescarolo Sport, +4 laps
8 (GTP) A.Wallace/B.Leitzinger/E.Vande Poele, Bentley EXP Speed 8, Team Bentley, +5 laps
15 (900) Y.Dalmas/F.Montagny/S.Sarrazin, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, ORECA Chrysler, +6 laps
14 (900) S.Ara/N.Amorim/M.Kondo, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, ORECA Chrysler, +7 laps
38 (675) J.D. Deletraz/P.Farbe/J.Gene Reynard-Lehmann 01Q ROC Competition, +7 laps
20 (900) W.Lupberger/B.Collins/H.Toivonen, Ascari-Judd A410, Team Ascari, +7 laps
63 (GTS) R.Fellows/J.O'Connell/S.Pruett, Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, Corvette Racing, + 7 laps
16 (900) O.Beretta/K.Wendlinger/P.Lamy, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, Team Playstation, +8 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, +7 laps
63 (GTS) R.Fellows/J.O'Connell/S.Pruett, Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, Corvette Racing, +7 laps
83 (GT) G.Rosa/F.Babini/L.Drudi, Porsche 911 GT3-RS, Seikel Motorsport, +10 laps


(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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