Runaway for McLaren turned into a close and exciting raceThrough the Night
The McLaren did indeed recapture second overall, but it was a pyrrhic victory as soon the turbocharged supercar was back in the box. This time a 15-minute stop to make some suspension repairs from contact with the No. 54 BMWdropped driver Phil Quaife behind the early leader of the race, the No. 4 Ferrari. Miro Konopka, now in the overall leading car, meanwhile made a routine stop of 4 minutes and easily retained first place.
It was then the Corvette’s turn to have to make a longer stop but in their case this was a scheduled brake change. The 12 minute call dropped the Chevrolet behind the once again quick McLaren.
With seven hours to go here was the standing of the top ten overall plus the top two in each class:
1st overall, 1st 997 class, #7 ARC Bratislava Porsche [soon to change, see below]
2nd overall, 1st A6 class, #3 Lapidus Racing McLaren, - 4 laps
3rd overall, 2nd A6, #4 Russian Bares Ferrari, same lap as the McLaren
4th overall, 1st SP2 class, #17 Guttroff Chevrolet Corvette, - an additional lap
5th overall, 2nd SP2, #12 Renault Silhouette, 7 laps behind the Corvette
6th overall, 1st A3T class, #32 Russian Paws Seat, same lap as the Renault
7th overall, 1st A2 class, #46 Schirra Mini, 3 laps behind the Renault and Seat—a remarkable standing for this relatively low class entry.
8th overall, 1st SP3 class, #30 Partl Motorsport BMW, 5 laps behind the Mini
9th overall, 2nd SP3, #18 Bonk BMW, 2 laps behind the Partl BMW
10th overall, 2nd A3T, #1 Sunred Seat, 4 laps further back
11th overall, 2nd A2, #42 Besaplast Mini, 1 lap behind the Seat
12th overall, 2nd 997, #9 B2F Porsche, 2 more laps back
13th overall, 1st A5 class, #48 Motionsport Lotus, -1 more lap
18th overall, 1st D1 class, #53 Black Motorsport Seat
24th overall, 2nd A5, #23 Gambler BMW
29th overall, 2nd D1, #54 Las Moras BMW
35th overall, 1st and only survivor in A4, #27 Küpper BMW
The wee small hours featured two Code 60 periods. One lasted less than a lapfrom 03:27 to 03:29 while the other started at 04:33, ending at 4:47. It was during this neutralization that the No. 7 Porsche was presented with a devastating 5-lap penalty. Marshals were working on a stricken car and the Porsche arrived far too fast, missed the brake points, spun and scattered the corner workers. No one was hit or injured but the incident has once again changed the complexion of the race.
The Cor Euser entered Lotus hit problems of a different nature. Its fly-by-wire throttle stopped functioning. The car was stranded, returned to the pits and lost over an hour across two stops. It has dropped them out of contention for the SP3 class.
Heading towards the 3/4 mark, there were still only a few official retirements plus some other cars that were been garage-bound for hours.
There were several periods during the night when all of the 40+ actual runners were circulating with none in the pits.
Shorlty before 06:00 came some drama among the top tier of cars when the No. 1 Seat crashed. We had another retirement a little
earlier when the No. 2 Porsche was parked. It had a litany of ailments but the coupe de grace was a malfunctioning paddle shift system.
The No. 42 Besaplast and No. 46 Schirra Minis had been running in formation for some time but this came undone when the latter team made
a long stop to repair its turbocharger. The No. 15 GC special had been retired with a bent chassis. The Sally Racing team (No. 36) was again
working on straightening the chassis on their Clio, the problem seeming to have become rather chronic. Speaking of chronic issues,
the No. 47 Lotus On Track has spent most of the night being a Lotus Off Track. Their long running electrical issues were finally cured only
to encounter issues with a wheel stud.
The efforts to get the No. 34 Milan Competicion Clio up the order were stymied by a problem with the fuel tank. The pre-dawn period (a tinge
of light in the east) was marked by several very short Code 60s, most caused by cars just edging into the gravel traps. The latest one at 06:38
occurred when the No. 20 Team Partl BMW—another front runner, was temporarily stranded. About 20 minutes later the No. 16 GC was another
car ending up in the gravel bed.
The crew of the No. 29 Sorg BMW 130i have once and for all given up with the car’s bad engine electrics. While the official results do not yet show
cars 2, 15, and 29 as retired they most certainly have been abandoned in their boxes.
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