British team's Le Mans 24hrs diary
23 April 2007 11:05
The British Diablo 666 team has competed at the opening round of the 2007 World Endurance Championship at Le Mans.
Below is the diary of how the event went for the team over practice, qualifying and the full 24 hours.
Final result after 24 hours:
The team finished 8th in the SBK class, behind the Phase One team, and 19th overall, with the two SERT Suzuki teams taking first and second places. See the related article below for the full classification. The BMW SportBoxer (see related stories), finished in 16th overall. See more on the bike in MCN, April 25, 2007.
18 hours completed:
The team has made steady progress in the Sunday morning sunshine, moving up from 36th place to 20th, just five laps away from the points scoring positions in the top 15.
12 hours completed:
Folowing the drama and disasters on Saturday, the night has gone well for the team, with no more crashes, and the riders doing a professionl job and climbing back up the leaderboad to 29th place, from the 46 teams still competing at Le Mans. The recovery has given renewed hope that the team might score championship points in their second attempt at the Le Mans race.
8 hrs completed:
The team are just hanging on in the race, following two high speed crashes by French rider Olivier Ulmann. His initial crash was on only the second lap, leading to the first of two complete bike rebuilds.
Having battled back up to 28th position after the first crash, the second incident dropped the squad to almost the back of the field and 46th. It then took fast and steady riding by all three racers to recover back up to 36th place, and on 246 laps.
The lead of the race isheld by the SERT Suzuki No 1 bike, with Yamaha GMT94, and SERT No 2 on the same 269th lap.
Practice and qualifying: April 21
Diablo 666's riders James Hutchins, Alex Cudlin and Olivier Ulmann have qualified in 16th position from an entry list of 67 teams, despite the late arrival of the 2007 Kawasaki ZX-10 race bikes meaning that they are still in a near standard state.
The warm summer weather has led to a largely uneventful time for the team so far, with sister team Bolliger Kawasaki in 11th, Phase 1 in seventh, and the qualifying times led by the works Suzukis, and GMT94 Yamaha.