LeMans Hour 4: Kristensen Audi builds lead
Audi’s Tom Kristensen had built a lead of nearly two minutes at the 75th 24 Hours of Le Mans as the four-hour mark came and went. The seven-time Le Mans winner put some space between himself and teammate Emanuele Pirro, who had moved past one of the factory Peugeots into second place. The two Audi diesels were running the fastest laps of the race as clouds finally cleared for the first time all week.
Kristensen’s Audi was faced with a couple of small maladies that did not figure to be serious. The team changed the nose of the car due to a faulty headlight and brought the car in to check out a potential overheating program when Audi’s telemetry showed the engine getting hot behind the safety car.
The issue arose when Mike Rockenfeller in the third Audi crashed into safety posts at the entry of Tertre Rouge. The severe damage was concentrated throughout the rear of the car, which was retired during the third hour and brought out the safety car.
The other major development was the retirement of the three-time and defending GT1 champion No. 64 Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R. Oliver Gavin was at the wheel when the car’s driveshaft failed. Gavin tried to bring the car back using the starter motor but wasn’t allowed to by the course marshals.
“It’s the very first time I’ve come here and retired,” said Gavin, who was teaming with Olivier Beretta and Max Papis. “It’s devastating for the team to have something like this happen. You prepare the whole season for this and then it seems like the rug gets pulled out from under you. We were running a carbon prop shaft and think the oscillation and vibration made the carbon unwind and brake. The whole thing seemed to unravel. Hopefully the other Corvette will come through and take the top spot.”
In the absence of the No. 64, Aston Martin Racing’s two Aston Martin DBR9s assumed the point in class. Darren Turner in the No. 007 led David Brabham in the No. 009 sister car by 26 seconds. The remaining factory Corvette with Johnny O’Connell at the wheel was a lap down but running strong.
The closest race was in GT2 where the lead Ferrari F430 GT of Risi Competizione and Jaime Melo was 30 seconds ahead of the second-place Autorlando Sport Porsche after 54 laps. Risi is back at Le Mans for the first time since 2003 and is the current American Le Mans Series GT2 team championship leader.
Also in GT2, the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche was sixth in class but on the same lap as the leaders. One of the Team LNT Panoz Esperante GTLMs, the one of Lawrence Tomlinson, Richard Dean and Rob Bell, was seventh and a lap down. The other entry of Tom Milner, Tom Kimber-Smith and Danny Watts was losing time in the garage with gearbox issues.
In LMP2, the factory Zytek 07S/2 of Adrian Fernandez, Robbie Kerr and Haruiki Kurosawa were running second in class after Fernandez qualified on the class pole in his Le Mans debut. The car was a lap behind the class-leading Lola-AER of Quifel-ASM.
Pos # Class Drivers Car Gap
1. 2 LMP1 Capello, McNish, Kristensen Audi R10 TDI -55
2. 8 LMP1 Sarrazin, Lamy, Bourdais Peugeot 908 2:41.937
3. 1 LMP1 Biela, Pirro, Werner Audi R10 TDI -54
4. 16 LMP1 Collard, Boullion, Dumas Pescarolo-Judd 01 1:21.976
5. 7 LMP1 Minassian, Gene, Villeneuve Peugeot 908 2:00.351
6. 12 LMP1 Frei, Cochet, Besson Courage-AER LC70 -53
7. 18 LMP1 Short, Barbosa, Hall Pescarolo-Judd 01 30.581
8. 13 LMP1 Marc Gounon, Moreau, Johansson Courage-AER LC70 -52
9. 17 LMP1 Primat, Tinseau, Treluyer Pescarolo-Judd 01 4.584
10. 15 LMP1 Charouz, Yoong, Mucke Lola-Judd B07-17 1:38.048
11. 009 LMGT1 Turner, Brabham, Rydell Aston Martin DBR9 3:09.159
12. 40 LMP2 Amaral, Angel de Castro, Hughes Lola-AER B05-40 3:10.074
13. 007 LMGT1 Herbert, Enge, Kox Aston Martin DBR9 -51
14. 63 LMGT1 Fellows, O'Connell, Magnussen Corvette C6-R 12.270
15. 33 LMP2 Kurosawa, Fernandez, Kerr Zytek 07S/2 1:57.421
16. 59 LMGT1 Garcia, Fittipaldi, Menten Aston Martin DBR9 2:17.646
17. 5 LMP1 Fassler, Deletraz, Alexander-David Lola-Audi B07-10 2:37.118
18. 100 LMGT1 Babini, Davies, Malucelli Aston Martin DBR9 2:54.003
19. 008 LMGT1 Bouchut, Gollin, Elgaard Aston Martin DBR9 3:31.421
20. 72 LMGT1 Alphand, Policano, Goueslard Corvette C6-R -50
21. 54 LMGT1 Prost, Groppi, Belloc Saleen S7R 1.557
22. 24 LMP2 Petrov, Halliday, Iannetta Courage-AER LC75 30.796
23. 31 LMP2 Binnie, Timpany, Buncombe Lola-Zytek B05-40 55.288
24. 55 LMGT1 Ortelli, Ayari, Lapierre Saleen S7R 1:08.826
25. 25 LMP2 Newton, Erdos, Wallace Lola-AER B05-40 -49
26. 70 LMGT1 Gosselin, Peter, Smet Corvette C6-R 1:44.851
27. 006 LMGT1 Fiskin, Bornhauser, Berville Aston Martin DBR9 2:17.411
28. 93 LMGT2 Ehret, Erik Nielsen, Simonsen Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 2:18.002
29. 97 LMGT2 Melo, Salo, Mowlem Ferrari 430 GT 2:49.444
30. 76 LMGT2 Narac, Lietz, Long Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 3:40.889
31. 87 LMGT2 Kirkaldy, Mullen, Niarchos Ferrari F430 GTC 4:01.254
32. 86 LMGT2 Kane, Janis, Hezemans Spyker C8 Spyder GT2 4:29.656
33. 82 LMGT2 Dean, Tomlinson, Bell Panoz Esperante GTLM 5:05.788
34. 80 LMGT2 van Overbeek, Neiman, Bergmeister Porsche 911 GT3 RSR -48
35. 67 LMGT1 Pergl, Vasiliev, Kostka Ferrari 550 Maranello 1:35.409
36. 35 LMP2 Nicolet, Filhol, Jouanny Courage-AER LC75 2:36.331
37. 73 LMGT1 Vosse, Andre, Blanchemain Corvette C5-R 2:36.785
38. 99 LMGT2 Jonsson, Krohn, Braun Ferrari 430 GT 2:54.316
39. 83 LMGT2 Marsh, Diez Villaroel, Rosenblad Ferrari F430 GT 3:09.345
40. 85 LMGT2 Chiesa, Caffi, Belicchi Spyker C8 Spyder GT2 4:03.615
41. 81 LMGT2 Kimber-Smith, Milner, Watts Panoz Esperante GTLM -47
42. 71 LMGT2 Felbermayr, Felbermayr Jr, Collin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 2:40.912
43. 78 LMGT2 Macari, Aucott, Newey Ferrari 430 GT 5:15.030
44. 44 LMP2 Burgess, Siedler, de Pourtales Pescarolo-Judd 01 -45
45. 29 LMP2 Longechal, Yamagishi, Terada Dome-Mader S101-5 -42
46. 20 LMP2 Rostan, Macallister, Pickering Pilbeam-Judd MP93 -40
47. 14 LMP1 Lammers, Bleekemolen, Hart Dome-Judd S101 -38
48. 19 LMP1 Berridge, Evans, Owen Lola-AER B06-10 -36
49. 32 LMP2 Barazi, Vergers, Ojjeh Zytek 07S/2 -35
50. 9 LMP1 Campbell-Walter, Ortiz, Nakano Creation-Judd CA07 -33