Dawn brings changes, Bentley keeps the lead

The second-placed Bentley again suffered a problem during the Le Mans 24 Hours as Johnny Herbert was unable to leave the pit lane at the end of a stop until the battery had been replaced. Meanwhile in the LM GTS class Anthony Davidson crashed his ...

Dawn brings changes, Bentley keeps the lead

The second-placed Bentley again suffered a problem during the Le Mans 24 Hours as Johnny Herbert was unable to leave the pit lane at the end of a stop until the battery had been replaced. Meanwhile in the LM GTS class Anthony Davidson crashed his Ferrari 550 Maranello and was taken to the medical centre for a check-up.

Davidson in the second-placed LM GTS Veloqx Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello spun off the circuit at Virage de Mulsanne on his 176th lap and hit the barriers. The car was damaged and the driver suffered from bruising and was taken to the medical centre as a precaution.

Johnny Herbert took over the #8 Bentley on lap 206 during a routine pit stop. He tried to pull away but the car refused to move. The mechanics crowded around the cockpit of the car as they replaced the battery. Eventually the headlights came on and the car sped away. The car was in the pit lane for a total of 4 minutes 42 seconds and rejoined just 1 minute 52 seconds ahead of the chasing Champion Racing Audi R8 of Emanuele Pirro and a full lap behind the leading Bentley.

The RN Motorsport DBA Zytek car of John Nielson car lost almost a lap with a 3m 17 second pit stop to fix a small problem. The car was 29 laps behind the LMP675 class leader Christophe Pillon in the Noel del Bello Racing Reynard-Lehmann.

The St Team Orange Spyker C8 Double 12-R of Hans Hugenholtz had to be pushed into the garage as it was suffering from mechanical problems. The team worked on the car, took it back into the pit lane and tried unsuccessfully to start it. Then they pushed the car back into the garage and continued working on it for a further hour and a half.

The lead Bentley pitted on lap 213 for a driver change, fuel and tyres. Rinaldo Capello took over behind the wheel and, unlike the sister car, the Bentley accelerated away from the pit lane without a problem and back into the lead.

As the skies started to brighten the drivers started to increase their pace. Herbert in the #8 Bentley was lapping in the low 3m 37s, some five seconds faster than the leading car of Capello. Peter Kox, leading the LM GTS class in his Veloqx Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello, set his car's fastest lap of the race at 3m 56.9s. Frank Lagorce, in the Pescarolo Sport Courage-Peugeot also set his car's fastest lap at 3m 45.9s.

On lap 216 Pirro set the Champion Racing Audi R8's fastest lap of the race at 3m 39.634s, and went even faster on the next lap at 3m 39.552s. At this point the leading four cars were lapping at least seven seconds per lap faster than the chasing Dome, Panoz and Courage cars.

After 219 laps Capello was leading Herbert in the second Bentley by one lap. Pirro followed in third place in the Champion Racing Audi 2 minutes 17 seconds behind Herbert.

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