Thursday June 10th 1999
BMW and Mercedes in full action

Le Mans  9:30 pm

It wasn’t before the end of the first part of this second session that the German teams almost managed to match Toyota’s performance. BMW n�, driven by J-J Letho, won the battle against Mercedes n� driven by Bernd Schneider. But Martin Brundle and Thierry Boutsen haven’t yet got much to worry about, thanks to their record lap time aboard the GT One last night.

The unlucky ones today are Panoz, who hardly had any time on the track at all. N�, driven by Dave Brabham, Eric Bernard and Butch Leitzinger, was relegated to 5th place.

Mercedes had a big fright when Mark Webber crashed n�half way between the Mulsanne corner and Indianapolis. Luckily, the driver was left unhurt, but as much cannot be said about the car, so badly damaged that one wonders if Mercedes will have time to repair it in time for Saturday. A press release soon reassured everyone, stating that the available amount of spare parts is quite sufficient for such extreme repairs – the team will be part of the race.

No records were broken, but a few incidents did happen during the qualifying session.

Yesterday, Eric van de Poele had a nasty accident. Today, it was Philippe Gache’s turn to skid off the track at the same spot (Tertre Rouge). His n� car hit the side barrier rather violently with the rear of the car, which was obviously heavily damaged.

The number of competitors is already down to 47, since Nissan n� quit the race after yesterday’s crash. Let’s hope that this 37th edition does not lose more participants before the race.


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