Planetlemans coverage of the Le Mans 24 Hours (1)

© Planetlemans – Marcel ten Caat

Good morning, afternoon, evening, night wherever you are. It is now 14.20 in Le Mans and the cars are already warming up around the circuit to get on the grid. The warm-up lap will commence at 14.48 after pits close at 14.37 sharp and the weather is dry for the moment but clearly overcast.
Thanks for being with us today, get ready because it promises to be a changing race with varying weather and lots of racing. Car number 31 (Binnie Lola-Zytek) will be starting with Planetlemans stickers on it, a great honor for us here at Planetlemans and we wish them the best of luck in the race!!!

14.34- Stands filling up now on the main straight, most cars are already parked on the grid

14.37- Pit lane closed

14.39- Sarrazin starts the pole car overall, Fernandez on the LMP2 best positioned car. All cars on slicks but many teams have rain tyres standing by on the grid.

14.41- Orange smoke from the Dutch fans as is traditional at Le Mans but some dark grey clouds are approaching now…

14.47- Satellite shows showers coming from the southwest while the track is being evacuated now. We’re about to start.

14.49- Green flag and 54 cars start the warm-up lap….

15.00- The 75th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours has started!!!

15.00- Bourdais misses the apex at Dunlop so Audi number 2 is leading!

15.04-First lap with Audi number 2 (Capello) leading Peugeots 7 and 8, Audis 3 and 1 are fourth and fifth. The 33 Zytek leads LMP2 , Aston 008 (Larbre) in GT1 and 87 Ferrari (Ecosse) on GT2

15.05- Bourdais overtakes Minassian to take 2nd, number 19 Lola was the first visitor to the pits but the 53 Lamborghini has stopped at the trackside with severe problems

15.07- Now it’s Biela overtaking Minassian

15.10- Both Peugeots under attck from the Audis, Capello in front has fastest lap at 3.33.527

15.13- Vergers flying in GT2, half a second quicker chasing Hughes and Fernandez

15.16- Biela passes Bourdais for second, Audi looks substantially quicker than Peugeot in the opening minutes

15.17- Vergers spins at Dunlop when he was about to pass Fernandez for the LMP2 lead…

15.19- IMSA-F. Lizard-Ecosse-Risi-Autorlando is the running order in GT2

15.21- Pescarolo 17 in the pits as well as the 99 Ferrari. GT1 running order is 008 (Bouchut)-55(Ayari)-009(Brabham)

15.24- After Vergers spin he runs 5th in class’with the 32 Barazi Zytek, the 33 Zytek still leads with the 40 Quifel Lola, the 21 radical and the 25 RML Lola behind

15.27- Frank Biela in his best lap 3.32.630, Capello still leads and also clocks a 3.32. The peugeots battle Audi number 3 for third but their laps are in the 3.37 , Collard is running 3.40 behind them Racing for Holland in 7th but the Lola-Audi of Swiss Spirit is now chasing it being 2 seconds quicker

15.30- 9 laps and Audi is now 1-2-3 after Luhr just passed Bourdais…

15.31- Pit stop for Audi number 1 as well as the Kruse Pescarolo number 44, only diesel and no tyres for Biela

15.34- The leader Audi number 2 stops as well as Peugeot number 8

15.37- The RML Lola is now 3rd in LMP2, problems for the Pilbeam 20 that cannot leave its pit

15.38- Pescarolo number 16 and Peugeot number 7 go for their first pit stop

15.40- Audi number 3 leads but it is the only diesel that still has not pitted

15.41 and now it enters the pit…

15.44- Almost all top runners in GT1 are stopping now, let’s wait a bit until we see who is leading

15.45- Dindo goes in 3.30.115, fastest lap

15.47- GT2 very close with Long (IMSA)-Bergmeister( FLizard)-Mullen(Ecosse) ane Melo(Risi) on the top 4, all of them running in 4.09s

15.48- Zytek 32 comes into the garage… LMP2 running order is Hughes-Fernandez-Erdos-Moseley-Binnie but Fernandez has already pitted

15.51- Aston martin 1-2 in GT1 with both 009 and 007 running together in front, Corvette 63 is now third

15.54- But now Bouchut overtakes Magnussen so it is an Aston 1-2-3, and as we write this Magnussen strikes back at the Porsche curves, great battle!!!

15.56- The first five (3 Astons, Magnussen Corvette and tAyari’s Saleen) are within 5 seconds….

15.57- Dindo Capello is 4 or 5 seconds than the other diesels and has already 41 seconds on second place Biela. In the meantime raindrops start falling on the main straight…

16.02- Safety car is out because of heavy rain…

16.04- Massive number of pit stops to change tyres…

16.05- Heavy shunt for the Radical 21 which is slowly trying to return to the pits

16.05- Pirro takes over in Audi number 1 staying on slicks!

16.07- Creation number 9 has stopped in the back of the circuit and is damaged (still not known how heavily)

16.09- Still under safety car , the Zytek number 32 is still in the garage by the way

16.11- Kristensen takes over number 2

16.15- still under safety car, still cars pitting for fuel and tyres…

16.18- Creation number 9 back in the pits with no visible damage

16.20- After 18 minutes the safety car goes in again, race on!

16.22- After many changes the 86 Spyker is now third in GT2 behind the Ecosse Ferrari and the Autorlando Porsche

16.24 Pilbeam number 20 back on the track, running order in LMP1 is Audi 2-Peugeot 8-Audi 1- Peugeot 7- Audi 3- Pescarolo

16- Charouz Lola 15

16.26- Pirro overtakes Bourdais for second while the 35 Saulnier Courage gets a stop and go penalty

16.28- The 33 Zytek has dropped now to third in class but far behind the first two: Quifel ASM Lola 40 in first and RML Lola 25 one lap behind in second

16.29- David Hart takes over in RfH Dome while the Swiss Spirit Lola lands in the gravel trap at the esses.

16.30- Audi number 3 crashes heavily in Tertre Rouge, safety car is out. In the meantime Antonio Garcia is third in GT1 with the Modena Aston 59

16.34-(SC situation)- Both Peugeots in the pits as well as both Pescarolos

16.38-(SC situation)- T2M Dome in the garage while the Pilbeam stopped back in the circuit, LMP2 is again turning into a race of attrition after not even 2 hours!!!!

16.40- (SC situation) Audi 1 in the pits while Corvette 64 stops after Arnage and is not able to continue for the moment… unusual occurrence to see a Corvette stopping at Le Mans.

16.43- (SC situation) Small recap on each class: LMP1 is Audi 2-Audi 1 – Pescarolo 16 – Peugeot 8-Peugeot 7

16.44- (SC situation) LMP2 40 Quifel ASM – 25 RML -33 Zytek- 31 Binnie- 24 Noel del Bello

16.45- (SC situation) GT1 59 Modena Aston -009 Aston- 63 Corvette -007 Aston – 008 Larbre Aston

16.47- (SC situation) GT2 93- Autorlando Porsche- 81 LNT Panoz- 97 Risi Ferrari- 76 IMSA Porsche- 80 Flying Lizard Porsche

16.53- (SC situation) Oliver Gavin is working on his car behind the barrier. It seems though it is game over for the number 64 Corvette

16.57- (SC situation) Vergers is still in his car in the pit box as the Barazi team keeps working on the back of the Zytek. The 19 Chamberlain Lola comes into the pit and the rear bonnet is taken off.

16.59- (SC situation) We are still behind the safety car. LIVE coverage will continue here