Punctures Causing Problems

Punctures have been a feature of the Le Mans 24 Hours, and each of the major tyre manufacturers have suffered cut tyres this year

Punctures Causing Problems

As in 2000, gravel from the traps have been spread around the circuit as drivers have gone off and then returned to the track. The punctures have not just been a feature of the LMP1 class with the GT1 class Corvette C6-R of Oliver Gavin suffering two left rear punctures in the early stages of the race.

Marco Werner, in the Champion Racing Audi, made an unscheduled pit stop in the 11th hour of the race, shortly after the German had taken the wheel from JJ Lehto, and had all four tyres changed. In the 12th hour, Franck Montagny brought the luckless Oreca Audi into the pits, again with a puncture and the team took the opportunity to thoroughly examine the suspension.

"We have sensors on the wheels and we can tell when the tyre pressure is going down," said Champion Racing team owner Dave Maraj. "We don't have to wait until the tyre explodes on the straight to know what is going on. We change all the wheels when it happens. The problem is that the stones in the gravel traps are so sharp, and now they are all over the circuit."

With his two cars at the head of the field, Maraj is still nervous. "I am nervous about this," said the team owner. "With two drivers going like this, if you make a mistake and lose laps, it is very difficult to get them back again. I would like them just to relax!"

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