Hour 9: Bentley back in the medals

Audi continued to rule the roost at three-eighths distance for the 69th Le Mans 24 Hours, but the good news for Bentley fans was the return of the surviving EXP Speed 8 into the bronze medal position

Hour 9: Bentley back in the medals

Frank Biela continued to lead in the number 1 R8, with its sister car two and a half minutes behind after pitting for tyres and fuel and a change of driver to Laurent Aiello. But after problems for the number 17 Courage, the Wallace/Leitzinger/van de Poele Bentley found itself in third, albeit 6 laps down on the race-leaders.

An impressive fourth was the number 15 Chrysler-Mopar LMP, with Franck Montagny at the wheel, while an even more impressive fifth was the lead LMP675 entry - the Reynard-Lehmann with Jordi Genestill at the wheel.

Chrysler also held sixth with its 'third string' number 14 car, with the leading GTS car holding seventh overall. That was the number 63 Corvette C5R with Johnny O'Connell at the wheel and its feat was all the more impressive as it led the number 20 Ascari, the number 17 Courage and the number 16 Chrysler.

The ever-changing (but always rubbish) weathyer conditions had taken another turn, with the rain dying out, but probably only temporarily.


The Deletraz/Fabre/Gene Roc Reynard remains unchallenged at the top of the 675 class. Jordi Gene came in to pit on the car's 102 lap and the Spaniard stayed in the driving seat to continue his nightime stint. The car is running in fifth overall, gaining two places in the last hour as cars ahead dropped back during pit stops.

Julian Bailey is still in the second placed 675 machine, but his MG is down in 27th place. The EX257 was suffering from electrical problems caused by the earlier down pours, but the car has a two-lap cushion over the third placed 675 car, the No 36 Dick Barbour Reynard of Radrigues/Maasen/Matsuda in 28th overall.

The No 63 Corvette of Ron Fellows, Scott Pruett and Johnny O' Connell still leads the GTS class and has moved up two places overall to seventh. O'Connell is due to come to the end of his stint soon, but the car has four places and two laps between it and the second Goodwrench Corvette, with Frank Freon behind the wheel. Mechanics had a long look at the back of the Corvette when Freon started his stint, but the American's lap times have not been affected when he went out.

In the GT class Fabio Babini is now behind the wheel of the Seikel Motorsport Porsche. The team are still in 13th place overall two laps ahead of the Fresisinger Porsche of Jeannette/Dumas/Haezebrouck.



1 (900) F.Biela/T.Kristensen/E.Pirro, Audi R8, Joest Audi Sport, 113 laps
2 (900) R Capello/L Aiello/C Pescatori, Audi R8, Joest Audi Sport, 113 laps
8 (GTP) A.Wallace/B.Leitzinger/E.Vande Poele, Bentley EXP Speed 8, Team Bentley, + 6 laps
15 (900) Y.Dalmas/F.Montagny/S.Sarrazin, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, ORECA Chrysler, +7 laps
38 (675) J.D. Deletraz/P.Farbe/J.Gene Reynard-Lehmann 01Q ROC Competition, + 8 laps
14 (900) S.Ara/N.Amorim/M.Kondo, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, ORECA Chrysler, + 8 laps
63 (GTS) R.Fellows/J.O'Connell/S.Pruett, Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, Corvette Racing, + 9 laps
20 (900) W.Lupberger/B.Collins/H.Toivonen, Ascari-Judd A410, Team Ascari, +9 laps
17 (900) J C. Boullion/S.Bourdais/L.Redon, Courage-Peugeot C60, Pescarolo Sport, + 10 laps
16 (900) O.Beretta/K.Wendlinger/P.Lamy, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, Team Playstation, +11 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, +8 laps

63 (GTS) R.Fellows/J.O'Connell/S.Pruett, Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, Corvette Racing, +9 laps

83 (GT) G.Rosa/F.Babini/L.Drudi, Porsche 911 GT3-RS, Seikel Motorsport, + 13 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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