Buncombe masters the wet to win at Le Mans

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Alex Buncombe took victory in a slippery Le Mans Legend race as he eased his 1959 Lister Costin to a 43-second lead on 22 June.

The rain started before the race had begun causing Derek Hill – son of the late Le Mans winner and F1 World Champion, Phil – to spin his Maserati Tipo 151 on the formation lap.

At the start Ludovic Caron’s Daytona Cobra got its nose in front of Buncombe’s car, but the Lister had taken the advantage back by the time they entered the Dunlop Chicane.

The action behind the leaders was frantic, with Gary Pearson pulling off a daring slide through the Chicane to put his D-type in second place, but by Tertre Rouge Carlos Monteverde had moved up to second in his Ferrari 250LM.

As Buncombe pulled out a 10 second lead, Anthony Reid (Jaguar D-type) and Monteverde were forced to retire with mechanical problems.

Behind Buncombe the battle still raged, with Pearson coming under pressure from Jon Minshaw’s Lister Knobbly and Roger Wills’ big Bizzarrini 5300GT, while Gareth Burnett’s two-litre Elva GT160 pestered the more powerful front-runners.

As the rain fell even harder, Paul Chase-Gardener’s 1952 Aston Martin DB2 went sideways into the gravel trap, digging in and rolling spectacularly. The car was badly damaged, but the driver was unscathed.

Among the class winners, Patrick Watts managed to bring his Allard J2 home in an impressive 14th overall, while Gary Pearson’s third was also a remarkable performance for an older car.

There was disappointment when Georges Gachnang’s Cooper Monaco failed in qualifying. Gachnang, a Swiss Toyota and VW dealer, competed in the 1960 Le Mans 24 Hours in an AC and was looking forward to making his return.

Find out more on the Motor Racing Legends website.

 

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