Despite last minute mechanical problems with their British Gulf-Ford, Derek Bell of Britain and Jacky Ickx of Belgium won the French Le Mans 24-hour sports car race on Sunday (15 June).
TGV Cars into bend and down straight
LV Car No. 11 driven by Bell (winner) into bend and lapping
GV PAN Car No. 5 (2nd) down straight and into bend
SV PAN Car No. 11 (winner) around bend
SV PAN Car No. 10 (3rd) as it rounds bend
TV PAN Car No. 11 down straight and uphill
LV PAN Car No. 5 down straight and uphill
GV Crowd at finish
GV Bell in car No. 11 receives chequered flat at finish
GV Crowd around winning car
CU Winner Ball splashes spectators with champagne
Initials BB/1830 FC/AW/BB/1945
SPORT: MOTOR RACING
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Despite last minute mechanical problems with their British Gulf-Ford, Derek Bell of Britain and Jacky Ickx of Belgium won the French Le Mans 24-hour sports car race on Sunday (15 June).
With less than two hours to go, the leading car was hampered by a cracked exhaust pipe. It lost almost three laps to its closest rival -- a French Ligier -- when it was pulled into the pits.
It was the second time that Ickx had won at Le Mans...but a first victory for Bell. Ickx last won in 1969 in a Ford GT40, which -- like the Gulf-Ford on sunday -- had been entered by Britain's John Wyer.
The team covered the 4,596.6 kilometres (2.857.6 miles) at an average speed of 191.5 k.p.h. (119 m.p.h.).
The Ligier -- driven by Frenchmen Jean-Louis Lafosse and Guy Chasseuil -- averaged 190 6 k.p.h. (about 118.4 m.p.h.) to cover 4,573.4 kilometres (2,841.8 miles). It took the second place.
The second Gulf-Ford covered 4,504.9 kilometres (2,799.3 miles) at a speed of 187.7 k.p.h. (116.6 m.p.h.) to come in third. It was driven by Australian Vern Schuppan and Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jaussand.
The new rules this year -- imposing 20 laps on one tank of petrol -- did not noticeably slow the cars, although it caused the disqualification of, a French-entered Porsche Carrera which refuelled inside the limit.
SYNOPSIS: Sunday's Le Mans twenty-four-hour sports car race... speeding into its last dramatic and gruelling hours.
A British-Belgian team -- Derek Bell and Jacky Ickx -- driving a Gulf-Ford has been leading for almost twenty hours... when a mechanical problem developed...
This gave the French Ligier, driven by Jean-Louis Lafosse and Guy Chasseuil, a chance to catch up. It was five laps behind when a cracked exhaust pipe threatened to slow down the Gulf-Ford. As Bell and Ickx pulled into the pits, Lafosse and Chasseuil managed to close the gap by almost three laps.
A second Gulf-Ford was racing neck and neck with the ??? for second place, when Bell and Ickx shot past the chequered flag. It was the first victory for Bell, but the second for Ickx who won the Nineteen-sixty-nine Le Mans in a Ford GT-Forty. Both cars were entered by Britain's John Wyer. Bell and Ickx had covered nearly four thousand and six hundred kilometres.