Race bulletin 5- Strakka profit from Rebellion's misfortunes
With less than a quarter of the race now to run, there has been incident and action at the 24 Heures du Mans which could have significantly affect the FIA World Endurance Championship points standings.
Audi’s No.2 R18 e-tron quattro remains ahead of the two Toyota TS030 Hybrids in LMP1, but long-time race leaders in the LMP1 Privateer category Rebellion Racing have had a set-back for both their Lola Toyotas. The No.13 of Belicchi-Cheng-Beche had a big accident after 08:30h this morning on the exit of the second Mulsanne chicane. Despite wiping the nose from the car, the Italian managed to drive back to the pits where he was helped from the car. After complaining of pain in his ribs, Belicchi was taken to the track’s medical centre for assessment and has now been transferred to hospital for further tests. With FIA WEC championship points in mind, the team has repaired the car and it has now just re-entered the race with Frankie Cheng at the wheel. At the same time as the No.13 was in the pits, the No.12 Rebellion was also having repairs made to its gearbox and, while it too is now back in the race, it is 32 laps behind the overall leader. Strakka Racing, who has had a conservative race in the tricky weather conditions, is now leading this small category.
In LMP2 the top three in class are the No.35 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan, No.24 OAK and No.26 G-Drive Racing ORECA Nissan – the French duo having traded places for the lead in class for much of the race.
In LMGTE Pro there were more problems for the Aston Martin Racing team when class leader Fred Makowiecki in the No.99 Vantage GTE hit the barriers hard at the first chicane in the slippery conditions, destroying the front of the car. The French driver was soon out of the car and behind the safety barriers but the race was put under another safety car to enable the marshals to recover the stricken car and repair the barriers. The No.98 Aston Martin of Bill Auberlen-Paul Dalla Lana-Pedro Lamy has also retired, pulling off the track after laying a trail of oil that had to be dressed by the marshals before racing could resume.
Marc Lieb in the No.92 Porsche 911 RSR took the class lead once more, with Darren Turner in the sole remaining Vantage V8, just 8 seconds behind the German. Jörg Bergmeister in the No.91 Porsche finished the 20th hour of the race a further 80 seconds behind in 3rd, two laps ahead of the leading Ferrari 458 of Kamui Kobayashi.
In the LMGTE Am class the No.76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche of Jean-Karl Vernay is holding a one lap advantage over his nearest rival, Piergiuseppe Perazzini in the no.55 AF Corse Ferrari 458, and the no.77 Dempsey Del Piero-Proton Porsche of Joe Foster.
Fiona Miller/Jeff Carter
Photo: CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES (LE MANS, SARTHE), 24 HEURES DU MANS, RACE, SATURDAY, 22ND JUNE 2013. The No.21 Strakka Racing HPD ARX03c leads the LMP1 Privateer category.