Press Information

24 Hours of Le Mans 1999
Race, Saturday, 12 June 1999

Peter Dumbreck escapes horrific accident

To the enormous relief of the AMG Mercedes team, its driver Peter Dumbreck emerged uninjured from a massive accident five hours into the Le Mans 24-hour race. His Mercedes CLR left the track on the run up to Indianapolis corner while Iying third behind the Toyota of Thierry Boutsen. The car lifted at the front while following the Toyota over a crest, looped over and rolled far from the track into the woods, luckily landing on its wheels.

Dumbreck was able to climb out by himself and was taken to hospital for precautionary X-Rays but later released.

Car number six was immediately contacted by radio to come in and retired in the garage on the same lap as the accident happened.

The decision to start the race with the remaining two cars following Mark Webber's similar accident during morning warm-up was made unanimously by the team and drivers. The clearance was given after a close examination of all aspects of the technical information available, especially after having compared the data of car number four with that of numbers five and six and, as an additional step, having considerably increased the downforce on the front of the car.

Norbert Haug, head of Mercedes Motorsport said; "I am extremely happy that Peter escaped such an accident unhurt and that none of the marshals or others close to the scene were injured. The decision giving clearance to race was not an easy one, but after extensive investigation of the data it was, from our point of view, not at all a gamble at that stage. We conducted an extensive inquest into the reasons for Mark Webber's accident and were convinced we had found a solution. As a precaution we added splitters to the front of the cars, creating 25% more downforce, which we checked on both, number five and six, in the course of the morning warm-up. With hindsight we now know better, but with the data we had this morning we were convinced of having made the right decision. I want to stress that safety is an essential core aspect of our motorsport involvement."

The team is still gathering all available data to pinpoint the reason for the accident. This quest cannot be completed until the car is retrieved from out on the circuit. We will supply further information as soon as it is available.