>From Knighthawks Press Office
For Immediate Release:
KNIGHTHAWK RETIRED AT LE MANS DUE TO FIRE
June 15, 2002 Le Mans, France b KnightHawkbs #30 MG Lola 675 LMP was
retired in the eighth hour due to a spectacular fire that all but destroyed
the teambs only entry. The carbs pilot at the time b Mel Hawkins b walked
While traveling the Mulsanne straights at high speed, Hawkins was stunned to
see a huge bolt of flame shoot right past him b from inside the cockpit b on
his left side.
bI was on the straight, right between the first and second chicane, when all
of a sudden a huge flame shot up the left side of the cockpit,b said the
suprisingly calm Hawkins. bI quickly looked in the rear-view mirror and saw
huge flames coming at me from the back of the car. They came clear over my
head b almost like an explosion b although I didnbt feel or hear one. I
never saw any smoke, or smelled any smoke b at all. I was probably about a
quarter-mile past the first chicane, at a speed of about 150mph and all of a
sudden it was just as if the car blew up! I pulled over as quickly as I
could, and by the time I did get over there were absolutely no lights on in
the car any longer. It was completely dark. I got out of the car as fast as
I could, and as soon as I was out, with my feet on the ground I quickly
tried to set off the on-board extinguishers. I couldnbt see b couldnbt find
the button. At that point, I just got away from the car as fast as I could.
The team quickly retired the effort and Team Manager Mike Johnson has yet to
determine the actual cause of the fire. Preferring to wait until the car
could be inspected more closely, Johnson offered no guess at this time.
The car, rather than being returned to the KnightHawk paddock, by regulation
will be stored in Park FermC) until the end of the race tomorrow afternoon.
bIbd like to thank the corner workers for their fast response,b added
Hawkins. bBy the time my feet first hit the ground, when getting out of the
car, they were right there with fire extinguishers.b
# # #
The last report I saw on SpeeNascar Channel (last year's coverage was SO much
better) showed one of the factory entries lying in 3rd overall and at the top
of the LMP675 class.
Editor - MGB Driver
Downers Grove, IL
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