Communiqué n°10 - Sunday 13/6/99 - 8h00


Perhaps the turning point in the race came at 3h10 when Thierry Boutsen tried to pass the no.66 Porsche driven by Michel Maisonneuve on the entry to the Dunlop curve. The cars collided and the Toyota went off at high speed hitting the tyre barriers both front and rear. Boutsen was complaining of back pains and it took a long time to remove him from the cockpit.
The GT2 Porsche did a slow lap liberally coating the track with oil and Race Control took the wise decision to bring out the pace car. The neutralisation period ended at 4h26. Thus, Kristensen-Müller-Lehto found themselves with a lead of 3 laps over their team-mates Winkelhock-Martini-Dalmas and the only Toyota left in the event was the one driven by the Japanese trio of Katayama-Tsuchiya-Suzuki (as in 1998). It was headed breifly by the no.8 Audi but the Japanese car soon snatched back third and set off after the BMWs.
Toyota took advantage of the neutralisation to change brake pads as did the no.21 Nissan while the Courage-entered cars were afflicted with a spongy brake pedal. The Estoril racing Porsche retired with a blown engine following its oil leak and the night also proved fatal to 2 other 911 GT2s, the Jarier-De Thoisy-Bourdais entry (engine) and the Porsche of Palmberger- Ligonnet-Kaufmann (same problem). The Kremer Lola-Ford also went out (gearbox).
At 6h15 the no.7 Audi stopped at the entry to the pit lane and was pushed to its pit by the mechanics where repairs took 9 minutes. At 7h20 Albereto was crawling long Les Hunaudières and when the car returned to its pit the sequential gear selection (mounted on the steering wheel) had to be changed and replaced by a lever. Capello went back out at 7h53 in 8th place. The other Audi (no 8) was in an excellent 4th place on the same lap as the Toyota. In the Nissan camp a wire on the starter had to be changed on  no.21. Back into 6th as the sun rose was the Panoz driven by Brabham-Bernard-Leitzinger behind the Bscher-Soper-Auberlen BMW.

The Pescarolo-Gay-Ferté Courage was delayed by oil temperature problems in the gearbox and in front of it in the classification was the quickest of the GTSs still led by the 3 Team Oreca Vipers. In contrast to Hughes de Chaunac, Paul Belmondo had a rude awakening as the exhaust manifolds had to be changed on both cars. Clérico also lost his left-hand rear wheel on his retum to the track and he finally managed to get back to his pit on 3 wheels where repairs were carried out. Kitchak went off at Tertre Rouge in his Porsche but also managed to retum to his pit.