There was a dramatic development in Hour Eighteen of the Britcar 24 as the No.2 Ferrari of the Eclipse Motorsport Team, who had been leading the race since Hour Six, surrendered its lead after a puncture.
Phil Keen had jumped into the Ferrari 430 as it entered the pits for its nineteenth stop of the race. However, the car was back in a few minutes later with a left-rear puncture after being towed away from the track near the new Wing complex.
This was not a regular tyre change for a puncture though, as a broken roll bar made it difficult to replace. The team tried to get the car away quickly, but an official from tyre supplier Dunlop would not let the car out of the pits until he was convinced that the new set were safely attached.
The No.2 Ferrari eventually re-joined the field in second, six laps behind our new leader, the No.3 Mosler of the Topcats Racing team.
Phil Keen was not to be deterred though. After this elongated pit stop he came straight out to and set a personal best lap time for the team – a 2:09:225.
The drama did not end there though. The No.6 Aquila, although not running near the front any longer, was still third in class. However, as Gareth Evans took the yellow car around 'The Loop' section the driveshaft failed and the Aquila had to be towed back to the garage. Before this, the No.6 team had also been given a 30-second stop/go penalty for overtaking under yellow flags, as had the No.56 car, the Team Caramba BMW M3.
Car 27, the only remaining car in Class Two, also received the same penalty for the same crime. However, the Topcats Racing Marcos also had reason to be cheerful during the sixteenth hour: the No.68 Intersport car that was running sixth had an overly long pit stop thanks to a loose alternator wire, and No.27 inherited that position.
Car no.66, the Dorset Sports Cars Porsche 996 also had an elongated trip to the pits when the team had problems getting the rear brakes pads removed.
2011 Britcar 24 Hours class leaders after hour eighteen
1 – No.3 Mosler – Beaumont/Fletcher/Draper/Hetherington
2 – No.2 Ferrari – McInerney/McInerney/Keen
3 – No.6 Aquila – Mustill/Berridge/Evans/Martin
1 – No.27 Marcos – Upton/Huggins/Fletcher/Orton
1 – No.57 Lotus – Euser/Prewitt/Brody/Freebird/McKinnon
2 – No.49 Aston Martin – Le Blanc/Van Lanschot/De Zille/Nimkoff
3 – No.68 BMW – Clarke/Gibson/Radcliffe/Hayes
1 – No.89 BMW – Griffiths/Green/Forsbrey/Kirkpatrick
2 – No.88 Honda – Smail/Meins/Lillingston-Price/Harding
3 – N0.84 Seat – Breukers/Thijssen/Jensiew/Han
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