British GTE driver Kapadia escapes Le Mans fire

Team AAI driver Alex Kapadia emerged unscathed from the fire which caused a long red flag-period during last night's qualifying for the Le Mans 24 Hours.

British GTE driver Kapadia escapes Le Mans fire
#67 Team AAI Porsche 911 GT3-RSR: Alex Kapadia, Xavier Maassen, Jun-San Chen
#67 Team AAI Porsche 911 GT3-RSR: Alex Kapadia, Xavier Maassen, Jun-San Chen
#67 Team AAI Porsche 911 GT3-RSR: Alex Kapadia, Xavier Maassen, Jun-San Chen

The British driver, who is making his Le Mans debut this week, endured a dramatic moment when he was forced to stop on the Mulsanne Straight in his blazing No.67 Porsche 911 RSR last night.

"I had the oil pressure light coming on a few times and radioed through to tell the team," recalled Kapadia.

"We have an oil re-fill button which I was told to use and then I came in to the pits and everything was checked out."

"I went back out and then at Dunlop Chicane the light came back on again," continued Kapadia. "My engineer Massimo then came on the radio and said: 'stop the car, stop the car.'

"I dipped the clutch immediately and pulled off close to the Hunandieres restaurant on the Mulsanne. It was then I could smell smoke and could see some fire at the back."

Having been forced to immediately stop the car, Kapadia then looked on anxiously as marshals had to sprint a reasonable distance from a marshals post to extinguish the oil fire.

"I was helpless for about a minute as the car burnt but the damage is confined to the engine bay and there is no damage to the shell, just a lot of the components around it, like sensors, lights and camera mounts," Kapadia stated.

The team, which is being overseen by experienced engineer and ProSpeed Competition team manager Rudi Penders is installing a new engine which is arriving from Porsche this afternoon.

The team had just fitted the race engine which was damaged beyond repair in the fire.

"It was a real shame because we had just made progress with my team mate Xavier (Maassen) going four seconds faster," continued Kapadia.

"We will be replacing literally a thousand parts on the car today, so hopefully we can get it back to a good race prepared state before the race tomorrow."

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