23 June 2013
Hour 19: #99 crashes out of GTE-Pro lead
The GTE-Pro class victory that Aston Martin Racing yearned for in memory of Allan Simonsen slipped from the hands of the #99 crew following an accident on the Mulsanne.
Aston Martin Racing's emotional pursuit of class victory to honour the memory of the late Allan Simonsen took a crushing blow late in the 19th hour of the Le Mans 24 Hours as Frederic Makowiecki crashed out of the GTE-Pro lead.
The highly-rated Frenchman was exiting the first Mulsanne chicane when the #99 car speared left into the barriers before rebounding back into the middle of the road. Makowiecki was fortunately unhurt but, like his mechanics, appeared distraught not to have completed the team's mission.
The accident, which ripped the front from the long-time leader of the class, promoted the #92 Manthey Porsche to the front of the class, and left AMR's hopes in the hands of the #97 car currently in the hands of Peter Dumbreck. As the field trailed around behind yet another safety car, scrambled to cover more barrier repairs, the Scot trailed the new class leader by just three seconds….
The hour had begun behind the safety car, as the last fixes were made to the barrier damaged by Andrea Belicchi's Rebellion Lola, but some green flag running was at least possible before Makowiecki's violent exit.
In that time, the leader, pitted for fuel and tyres, with Allan McNish climbing back aboard in place of Tom Kristensen, the Dane having completed another marathon spell behind the wheel. The #3 Audi and #8 Toyota both made scheduled stops, with Lucas di Grassi and Stephane Sarrazin staying aboard respectively, before the return of the rain prompted a rethink on rubber shortly before the safety car made its tenth re-appearance.
The earlier restart had prompted some keen action behind the leaders in LMP2, with the Greaves and G-Drive cars amongst those going head-to-head and, on occasion, three-abreast. At the head of the class, however, the two OAK entries remained free to battle each other, with the #35 continuing to hold sway.
Behind Dumbreck, the second Manthey Porsche assumed third in GTE-Pro on the #99's exit, with the #71 AF Corse Ferrari next in line to move up, despite Kamui Kobayashi vaulting the 458 Italia over the kerbs, all four wheels off the ground…
There was also a spin amongst the frontrunners in GTE-Am, as Joe Foster looped the #77 Dempsey Del Piero Porsche in the tricky conditions, but the much-followed team remained third in class behind the #76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche and #55 AF Corse Ferrari, which remained on the same lap. Further back in the same category, the #81 8Star Ferrari visited the gravel at Mulsanne corner, but remained tenth in class, such was its advantage over the #70 Larbre Corvette that spent much of the night between gravel trap and pit garage.
1. #2 Kristensen/Duval/McNish Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro * 276 laps (26 stops)
2. #8 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 hybrid * 275 laps (23 stops)
3. #7 Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 hybrid * 274 laps (23 stops)
1. #35 Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan * 260 laps (24 stops)
2. #24 Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan * 260 laps (24 stops)
3. #42 Mardenborough/Ordonez/Krumm Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan 259 laps (21 stops)
1. #92 Lieb/Lietz/Dumas Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR * 250 laps (17 stops)
2. #97 Turner/Mucke/Dumbreck Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 * 250 laps (18 stops)
3. #91 Bernhard/Pilet/Bergmeister Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR * 249 laps (18 stops)
1. #76 Narac/Bourret/Vernay IMSA Performance MATMUT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR * 242 laps (18 stops)
2. #55 Perazzini/Case/O'Young AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia 242 laps (19 stops)
3. #77 Dempsey/Foster/Long Dempsey Del Piero-Proton Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 241 laps (19 stops)
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