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Crash.Net Le Mans News

Lotterer handed back the lead as dawn breaks

17 June 2012

Once the wreck of the #75 Prospeed Porsche was cleared away and the damage to the barriers at the Porsche curves had been attended to, the safety cars came in and racing resumed under brightening skies at 5.30am CET (4.30am BST). Almost immediately the sixth-placed #13 Rebellion Racing car spun out of the Porsche curves, driver Harold Primat taking his life in his hands as he tried to manoeuvre the car across the track to get pointed back in the right direction as the traffic streamed past.

Allan McNish had taken the restart in the lead, but almost immediately the Audi #2 came into pit lane to hand over the driver's seat to birthday boy Rinaldo Capello and as a result handing over the lead of the race back to Andre Lotterer in what appeared to be an orchestrated team decision to place the #1 once more into the lead - although Lotterer then started putting in the fastest laps of the race so far in the 3mins 22secs range, just to prove the point that he deserved the top spot especially now that the race had reached "happy hour" with optimal conditions for fast times.

In the other classes, the #44 Starworks HPD ARX 038-Honda still topped LMP2 with Ryan Dalziel and the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia still led the GTE-Pro class with Gianmaria Bruni installed at the wheel. Patrick Bornhauser was in the lead of the GTE-Am category in the #50 Labre Chevrolet Corvette C6 having displaced the #67 IMSA Performance Matmut currently driven by Nicolas Armindo, although subsequent pit stops kept switching the relative order around.

With the sun creeping over the horizon, the high number of minor incidents that had peaked just before dawn seemed to decline markedly. Lucas Ordonez reported that the #42 Greaves Motorsport Zytek Z11SN-Nissan was suffering from a sticking throttle - a nice surprise awaiting whichever Brundle was to take over from him in the cockpit of the LMP2 car currently running eighth in class and 16th overall. In the end, it was the elder Brundle, Martin, who came out for an early morning run.

In the GTE-Pro class, the #97 Aston Martin Vantage V8 had been pumping out some fast times in the hands of Stefan Mücke and was looking within reach of trying to wrest the lead from class leader Gianmaria Bruni in the #51 when disaster struck, and the car went off sideways at speed through the gravel at Indianapolis to come to rest against the tyre barrier. Mücke's car was quickly pulled out of the gravel and he was able to recover to the pit lane, but his mishap allowed the #59 Luxury Racing Ferrari of Frederic Makowiecki to claim second spot - although Makowiecki himself then suffered a puncture, possibly even on the gravel thrown up by Mücke's own excursion, and had to come into the pits himself.

Retirements:

#77 Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 911 RSR
#31 Lola B12/80 Coupe-Lotus Spin
#75 Prospeed Competition Porsche 911 RSR Accident
#48 Murphy Prototypes Oreca 03-Nissan Accident
#58 Luxury Racing Ferrari 458 Italia Accident damage
#24 OAK Racing Morgan-Judd Oil pump
#7 Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 HYBRID Engine
#80 Flying Lizard Porsche 997 RSR Accident damage
#29 Gulf Racing Middle East Lola-Nissan Accident
#8 Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 HYBRID Accident
#0 Highcroft Racing DeltaWing Nissan Accident
#81 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia Accident
#99 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 Accident damage
#16 Pescarolo Team Pescarolo-Judd Power steering
#29 Gulf Racing Middle East Lola-Nissan Accident


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