Jaguar may not have shone in the main race but Justn Law kept his nose clean for a Group C win in an XJR-9
Justin Law won an incident-packed Group C race, aboard a Jaguar XJR-9, on the morning of the Le Mans 24 Hours. Having put the car on pole in a soaking qualifying session the day before, Law was left behind in the opening laps by Gary Pearson in an XJR-11, Alex Buncombe in another XJR-9, David Hart in a Porsche 962 and Nathan Kinch in a Spice-Chevrolet SP92.
However, it soon seemed that anyone who inherited the lead would suffer from either contact or a puncture: Kinch got a puncture while leading on the third lap, Hart made contact with a backmarker while leading on lap seven and only a lap later Pearson slowed with a puncture on his XJR-11, promoting Law to first.
Buncombe – who had never been round the circuit, or indeed driven the XJR-9 before – managed to put the car on the front row of the grid, but suffered from over-enthusiasm and spun in the Porsche Curves on lap one.
Bob Berridge didn’t have any more luck in the Mercedes-Benz Cl 1 as he spun on the opening lap as well. He managed to continue and climb from last to seventh by lap four, only to get a puncture. He made it back to the pits and went out once again, only to suffer from another puncture less than two laps later. “Talk about making a dick of yourself at the first corner,” he said. “I should have known better, but it’s just amazing to race the C11 here.”
Law was untroubled after inheriting the lead on lap eight and any worries he had about having enough fuel for the race were dissipated when the chequered flag was brought out a few minutes early. “That was an interesting one,” he said. The guys disappeared at the start and I just thought ‘I’ll keep my head down, look after my tyres, look after my fuel, and get the car to the finish.’ It seemed to work out pretty well.”