Before the Mazda Prototype retired in a ball of flame and completely shook up the end of Petit Le Mans, the two Turner Motorsport BMW M6s were in third and fourth place, which would have been a respectable result at the grueling Petit Le Mans. Then the cardinal rule of “never hit your teammate” got broken.
[Drama starts at 1:40.55]
With just over 30 minutes left in the ten-hour race, Jens Klingmann in the No. 96 Turner BMW M6 collided with the No. 97 Turner BMW M6 driven by Markus Palttala as the two scrapped for third place going into turns 10 and 11. Palttala pitted immediately after the hit for fuel and new right side tires and was able to go back out and take the checkered flag.
However, Klingmann stayed out for another lap before coming in with a thoroughly annihilated left rear tire and damage to the left side of the car. Klingmann then had to retire the No. 96 due to its broken suspension, which he did in spectacularly angry fashion. Klingmann slammed the door of the No. 96 and stormed off into the paddock.
“He’s walked off in a huff,” said broadcast commentator Jim Roller of why he couldn’t get a word with Klingmann after the incident. “I think you picked the perfect word: petulant.”
This bump let the No. 73 Park Place Porsche 911 of Jörg Bergmeister through to fourth place, although Palttala briefly held on to fourth behind him. Palttala ultimately finished fifth, which became fourth after the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi was penalized for a drive time penalty.
As for the No. 96, it was ultimately classified as finishing in tenth place. The team had to roll the broken car out of pit lane with 23 minutes left in the race.
Adding to the awkwardness is the fact that Klingmann is a BMW factory driver. In other words, Turner Motorsport may not be the only ones who have some questions after this one.
Update: The team has chalked this crash up to an unfortunate racing incident, per a team representative. The team wasn’t aware there was suspension damage on the No. 96 until Klingmann drove into the pits, at which point they noticed that side of the car was very borked.