Hour eight: Abt takes up the cudgels

Battle for the lead

Hour eight: Abt takes up the cudgels

Audi driver Christian Abt leads the 2000 Le Mans 24 Hours by 1m13.966 seconds from the sister car of Frank Biela, Tom Kristensen and Emanuele Pirro at the psychologically-important one-third mark.
Third place is held by Allan McNish in the third factory Audi, two laps behind his team-mates. Fourth is the domain of David Brabham another 1m12.735s adrift, and fifth is held by the number two Panoz Spyder of Hiroki Katoh, Johnny O'Connell and Pierre-Henri Raphanel, which is four laps down.

The circuit de la Sarthe is now totally dark and the track temperature is considerably cooler than during the day, giving vastly-improved conditions for tyres and turbos - if drivers are feeling brave enough to charge.

Allan McNish took over the number nine car from Laurent Aiello after their unscheduled pitstop for a new gearbox and - with a touch of déjà vu - returned to the fray in fourth place behind David Brabham's Panoz. The Scot passed Brabham on lap 107 then set setting a storming fastest lap of 3:37.9rbo95 a few laps later.


The P675 class is being led by the Terada/Balandras/Boulay WR Peugeot, 26 laps behind.
The Beretta/Wendlinger/Archer Dodge Viper leads the GTS class from the sister car driven by Archer/Duez/Huisman by a lap.
The Dick Barbour Porsche GT3-R is running like clockwork in the GT class, sitting pretty in 18th place overall and 16 laps behind.


Both Reynard ROC VWs have retired from the race with engine problems. The cars had been tipped as a dark horse for some kind of honours at Le Mans.
The Bscher BMW LMR has been pushed back into the garage from ninth place after Geoff Lees lost the clutch at Indianapolis. "It just went bang," said Lees.
Guy Smith returned to the Johansson Matthews garage in the Reynard 2KQ at 2335 for what team boss John Wickham called "a routine gearbox change".

Pos No Drivers Car Class Laps/Time

7, M Alboreto, C Abt, R Capello, Audi R8 (900), 119 laps
8, F Biela, T Kristensen, E Pirro, Audi R8 (900), +1m13.966s
9, L Aiello, A McNish, S Ortelli, Audi R8 (900), 1 lap
11, D Brabham, J Magnussen, M Andretti, Panoz Spyder LMP (900), 1 lap
12, H Katoh, J O'Connell, P H Rapanel, Panoz Spyder LMP (900), 3 laps
3, E Bernard, E Collard, F Montagny, Cadillac LMP (900) 4 laps
22, K Tsuchiya, M Kondo, A Iida, Panoz Spyder LMP (900), 6 laps
16, S Bourdais, O Grouillard, E Clerico, C Peugeot (900), 7 laps
24, S Johansson, J Matthews, G Smith, Reynard-Judd 2KQ (900), 8 laps
23, T Suzuki, M Kageyama, M Kageyama, Panoz Spyder LMP (900), 9 laps


Class No Driver Car Time
900 9, A McNish Audi R8 3m37.995s


Class No Drivers Car Class Time
36, S Boulay, Y Terada, R Balandras, WR Peugeot (675), 23 laps
51, O Beretta, K Wendlinger, D Dupuy, Oreca Viper, 8 laps
83, D Muller, L Luhr, B Wollek, Porsche GT3R, 15 laps


No Drivers Car Laps Reason
4, M Goossens, C Tinseau, K Kolby, DAM'S Cadillac LMP (900), fire - 5 laps
5, Y Dalmas, N Minassian, J P Belloc, ORECA Reynard-Mopar 2KQ (900), oil pressure - 1 lap
20, J Lammers, P Kox, T Coronel, Konrad Lola B2K/10 (900), retired
33, J D Deletraz, R Kelleners, D Terrien, ROC VW (675), engine,
77, C Bouchut, J Chereau, P Gouselard, Porsche GT3-R, accident, 34 laps
34, J-C Boullion, J Gene, G Policand, Reynard Volkswagen (675), engine

For a full list of race positions at the six-hour mark click here.

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