Petit Le Mans – Live Race Blog – The Start

October 2, 2010

Petit Le Mans – Live Race Blog – The Start

October 2, 2010

Risi Ferrari, Flying Lizard Porsche and Rahal Letterman BMW all in the pits. Photo credit: Rick Dole for Michelin North America

We’re about a quarter of the way through the race. More than two hours and 45 minutes are complete in this year’s Petit Le Mans, the equal amount to a regular American Le Mans Series event. The event has clicked off at a breakneck pace, with only one caution flag to slow the field through that time. But now the field is just in the second yellow flag period for an accident for one of the contenders.

Temperatures have increased to 81 degrees Fahrenheit ambient and 96 on track, from 77 and 94 an hour and a half ago, Michelin tire engineers reported.

As could be expected, the Peugeots and Audis still ran top four overall until the yellow. The order is now Stephane Sarrazin in the No. 08 Peugeot ahead of Dindo Capello in the No. 7 Audi, Anthony Davidson in the No. 07 Peugeot and Andre Lotterer in the No. 9 Audi.

Lotterer, though, just crashed coming through the esses. The young German, making his ALMS debut, hit a curb which then took the nose off the car and sent a field of bodywork onto the track. Lotterer was able to limp back to the pit lane but took the car immediately into the garage.

Most prototypes have pitted while in GT, a handful of cars pitted, with the two Corvettes and No. 01 Extreme Speed Ferrari staying out. They just stopped prior to this caution flag.

Other class leaders prior to the caution flag are David Brabham for Highcroft HPD in P2 – seeking the overall LMP championship – with Elton Julian in the Green Earth Team Gunnar entry leading LMPC and Sebastiaan Bleekemolen in the Black Swan Racing Porsche GT3 Cup in GTC.


No. 07 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP. Photo credit: Rick Dole for Michelin North America

The first hour at this year’s Petit Le Mans is in the record books. Temperatures after the first hour have risen from the start to 77 degrees Fahrenheit ambient and 94 degrees on track.

Peugeot led the entirety of it between their No. 07 and No. 08 908 HDi FAP turbo diesels, until the No. 08 pitted a few minutes ago. Allan McNish now leads in the No. 7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R15 Plus TDI.

Highcroft Racing HPD (Simon Pagenaud driving) leads P2 and just completed his first pit stop, taking only E10 fuel and no tires, so he is double-stinting his set of Michelins. Jaime Melo leads GT2 in the No. 61 Risi Competizione Ferrari; Challenge class leaders are Gunnar Jeannette in LMPC, after coming from the back of the grid following a pre-race tire change, and Andy Lally in GTC.

Some notes: the No. 6 Muscle Milk Team CytoSport Porsche RS Spyder is running on seven cylinders, a tough blow to the team’s hopes to capture both the LMP and MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge championships. They’re still running.

The first caution flew for the No. 23 Alex Job Racing GTC Porsche Cup car, as Bill Sweedler went off at the last turn.

Two teams – the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari (Toni Vilander driving) and No. 90 Rahal Letterman BMW (Dirk Mueller) – received one-minute stop-and-go penalties for avoidable contact.

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