JML Team Panoz may have held their positions of sixth and ninth through to the halfway point of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but Olivier Beretta was lucky to escape after suffering a major night-time incident at more than 300kph.

The Monegasque driver ran over some debris entering the Mulsanne straight and suffered a flat tyre on the approach to the first chicane. The car immediately went into a tankslapper but, after regaining control, Beretta was calm enough to limp the car back to the pits for repairs before it was handed over to Max Papis.

"I was flat in sixth gear leading up to the first chicane when it happened," Beretta said, "The track was really dirty and there was a lot of debris around the place. I obviously ran over something which caused the problem.

"I was very lucky not to crash the car. It was completely sideways at more than 300kph. It went left, right, then left again - I had a good look at the armco fence!

"| I was able to get the car back to the pits without any damage. It was a bit unfortunate because we had actually got up to fifth place. We just have to keep fighting now and see what happens in the second half of the race."

David Saelens, Scott Maxwell and Benjamin Leuenberger also continued to perform strongly in the sister car - maintaining their ninth place in a good battle with a pair of Courages, one ahead, one behind.

"I have really enjoyed driving at night, the car hasn't skipped a beat and I am really feeling comfortable out there," Le Mans rookie Saelens said, "We have had a great run after 12 hours, but we still have a long way to go. Everybody on the team has done a great job so far and we just have to keep it up."

 

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