“Those were the worst conditions I’ve ever known, because I couldn’t see a thing,” said Derek Bell. The five-time Le Mans winner had just turned the clock back in a Kremer Porsche 962 during motor racing Legends’ Group C support race, but the heavy rain that swept over the Sarthe on the morning before the 24 Hours hadn’t made it as pleasurable as it should have been.
More than 30 of the glorious 1980s sports cars made for quite a spectacle as they headed into the Dunlop chicane for the first time, but much of the race would be neutralised. Mike Donovan’s C2 Spice had already been tapped into a spin as he left the final corner to take the start. As he recovered and charged down the Mulsanne, his SE88 made contact with Alain Schledinger’s Tiga and both cars slammed into the barriers. Once the mess had been cleared, there was time for just three laps of racing.
Bob Berridge had stormed from second on the grid to lead at the start, and no one could live with his Sauber Mercedes C11 once the safety car finally released the field. The Lancia LC2 of Roger Wills came closest, with poleman Gareth Evans settling for third in his Sauber Mercedes C9.
As for Bell, he struggled home 13th after a spin at the Dunlop chicane, his 962 a handful in pre-chicane long-tail trim.