Hour 9: Boullion Climbs Up

The number 3 Champion Racing Audi R8 of Tom Kristensen, JJ Lehto and Marco Werner remained in the lead at the end of the ninth hour, at 01:00 local on Sunday, with Lehto having taken over from Kristensen

Hour 9: Boullion Climbs Up

His lead is close to two and a half minutes over the sister car of Frank Biela, Allan McNish and Emanuele Pirro, which has just pitted for Biela to hand over to Pirro who is rested and ready for more after his quadruple-stint opening run.

Audi's domination of the race was interrupted by the Jim Gainer International Dome with Katsutomo Kaneishi at the wheel, this having just moved up to third place when the ORECA-run R8 driven by Jean-Marc Gounon, Franck Montagny and Stephane Ortelli came in for a scheduled stop.

But Montagny's pit stop was a lengthy one and there was a sudden flurry of changes on the leaderboard at the top of the hour as the Racing for Holland Dome that had been fifth, lost time when John Bosch had to limp back to the pits with a flat left rear tyre.

In a flash, Jean-Christophe Boullion's fast recovering Pescarolo was past both to move up to fifth place - and after the hour to fourth, with Bosch also demoting Montagny.

Showing tremendous form, the highest placed GT1 car is the number 58 Aston Martin in seventh place overall, with Tomas Enge handing over to Pedro Lamy to leave it 1:10s in front of Jan Magnussen - who has just assumed the driving duties of the number 64 Corvette Racing C6.R, with the sister Corvette a further 20 seconds back in the hands of Max Papis.

The cars in LMP2 have had a troubled past hour or so and you have to look down to 21st to find the best-placed car in class, this the Paul Belmondo Racing Courage-Ford with Belmondo himself at the wheel, with Gregor Fisken being frustrated first by a leak from the car and then a vibration, perhaps from a misfiring engine.

GT2 is being led by Alex Job Racing, with Marc Lieb in 18th overall, 1m15s up on Jorg Bergmeister's White Lightning Racing Porsche.

Cars officially retired:

Number 13 Courage Competition Courage-Judd C60H;
Number 20 PiR Pilbeam-JPX MP93;
Number 23 Welter Racing WR-Peugeot 2003;
Number 39 Chamberlain-Synergy Motorsport Lola-AER B05/40;
Number 51 BMS SCuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello;
Number 52 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello;
Number 69 JMB Racing Ferrari 575 GTC;
Number 77 Panoz Motor Sports Panoz Esperante GTLM;
Number 85 Spyker Squadron Spyker C8 Spyder;
Number 93 Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari 360 Modena.

Pos # Drivers Make Class On Hour 9
1 3 Lehto, Werner, Kristensen Audi R8 LM P1
2 2 Biela, Pirro, McNish Audi R8 LM P1
3 5 Michigami, Ara, Kaneishi Dome Mugen LM P1
4 4 Montagny, Gounon, Ortelli Audi R8 LM P1
5 16 Collard, Boullion, Comas Pescarolo Judd LM P1
6 10 Lammers, Julian, Bosch Dome Judd LM P1
7 58 Enge, Kox, Lamy Aston Martin DBR9 LM GT1
8 64 Gavin, Beretta, Magnussen Corvette C6-R LM GT1
9 63 Fellows, O'Connell, Papis Corvette C6-R LM GT1
10 9 Hignett, Stack, Kurosawa Zytek 04S LM P1
11 59 Brabham, Sarrazin, Turner Aston Martin DBR9 LM GT1
12 18 Short, Barbosa, Ickx Dallara Judd LM P1
13 7 Minassian, CampbellW., Wallace DBA Judd LM P1
14 17 Loeb, Helary, Ayari Pescarolo Judd LM P1
15 50 Goueslard, Dupard, Vosse Ferrari 550 Maranello LM GT1
16 12 Schwager, Frei, Vann Courage Judd LM P1
17 61 Fomenko, Vasiliev, Bouchut Ferrari 550 Maranello LM GT1
18 71 Hindery, Rockenfell., Lieb Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
19 90 Bergmeist., Long, Bernhard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
20 76 Dumas, Dumez, Narac Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
21 37 Belmondo, Andre, Sutherland Courage C65 Ford LM P2
22 32 Fisken, Halliday, Hancock Lola AER LM P2
23 80 Overbeek, Pechnick, Neiman Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
24 36 Gosselin, Ojjeh, Sharpe Courage C65 Ford LM P2
25 72 Policand, Campbell, Alphand Porsche 911 GT3 RS LM GT2
26 89 Nielsen, Thyrring, Ehret Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
27 35 Hillebrand, Hahn, Pickering Courage C65 Judd LM P2
28 25 Erdos, Newton, Hughes Lola MG LM P2
29 30 Bennett, Mitchell, Mullen Courage Judd LM P2
30 92 Macari, Eriksson, Wilson Ferrari 360 Mo. GTC LM GT2
31 91 Pompidou, Blanchema., Yamagishi Porsche 911 GT3 RS LM GT2
32 83 Collin, Felbermayr, Shep Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
33 31 Amorim, Iannetta, Pillon Courage - CG LM P2
34 24 Terada, Roussel, Binnie WR Peugeot LM P2
35 95 Hartshorne, Stanton, Johnson TVR Tuscan 400 R LM GT2
36 78 Sellers, Franchitti, Bourdais Panoz Elan LM GT2
37 8 Verdon Roe, Krumm, Primat Dallara Nissan LM P1
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