After rain yesterday
evening and a chilly start at 9:00am the sun has now broken through
on the real start of business for Le Mans 2001. Many new and revised
cars this year and a couple of marques that we have not seen for a while
or even a lifetime. At the top of the timing board most of the morning
was a flying Johansson with the Johansson Motorsport Gulf liveried Audi
a solid couple of seconds a lap ahead of the factory cars. Bentley had
an impressive run splitting what would otherwise have been an Audi lockout
on the top four places by taking 3rd fastest time with the #7 (Brundle/Ortelli/Smith)
car and the #8 car in 7th spot.
The other returnees
to Le Mans, MG had a difficult time and hardly turned a lap. They languished
at the bottom of the table and failed to put in a flying lap. MG #33
had a puncture and #34 had an engine failure just at the exit of Mulsanne
corner. We shall see if they have better luck in the afternoon session.
In the last few
minutes of the morning test, the #12 Panoz came into the pits with an
impressive cloud of smoke. Once the fog had cleared it was evident that
it had been caused by a cracked exhaust header.
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