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Crash.Net Le Mans News

Audi comfortable at half way

17 June 2012

Audi remain comfortably out front in the Le Mans 24 Hours at the half-way stage after Toyota's challenge was finally extinguished.

Despite losing some time in the ninth hour, the #1 R18 e-tron Quattro remained out front as the clock struck 2am with Marcel Fassler at the wheel, with Tom Kristensen in the sister hybrid car on the lead lap but more than two minutes behind.

Audi's lock-out of the podium has the #4 R18 Ultra in third place, a lap down, with the two Rebellion Racing Lola Coupes still best of the rest behind – albeit with the leading car, the #12 being six laps down.

The #13 is now on the same lap as the recovering #3 Audi in the hands of Romain Dumas although he lost more time shortly before half distance with a spin at the Ford Chicane that led to an unscheduled stop.

Toyota's hopes of victory had already disappeared after Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima both crashed earlier on, with Nakajima's car eventually rejoining the race after a lengthy delay only to retire with engine issues.

Outside the top six on track, the next LMP1 battle is over tenth place with the two HPD teams – JRM and Strakka Racing – now on the same lap after a range of issues delayed both cars.

LMP2 is headed at half-way by the Starworks team, which is seeking to add a Le Mans victory to its win at Sebring earlier in the year. The HPD squad took advantage of misfortune for its rivals to hit the front, with the Murphy Prototypes team dropping back after a puncture caused Warren Hughes to have a spin, and an oil pump issue led to the retirement of the #24 OAK Racing Morgan.

The Pecom Racing Oreca-Nissan is now the closest challenge to the LMP2 leader while the top three in class are all running inside the top ten overall.

GTE-Pro is headed by the #51 AF Corse Ferrari as the team looks to rebound from its issues earlier in the week, while the similar #59 Luxury Racing car – the only one still running – is a lap down in second place despite a spin at Indianapolis just as the half-way point arrived.

The previously leading #74 Corvette saw its victory challenge end when Richard Westbrook lost a wheel shortly after leaving the pits following a driver change. Damage sustained has seen the car slip back down the order.

GTE-Am is headed by the IMSA Performance Porsche, with Pedro Lamy giving chase in the first Larbre Corvette. The Krohn Racing Ferrari sits third despite losing time after a spin into the gravel.

Retirements:

#58 Luxury Racing Ferrari 458 Italia
#24 OAK Racing Morgan-Judd Oil pump
#7 Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 HYBRID Engine
#80 Flying Lizard Porsche 997 RSR Accident damage
#29 Gulf Racing Middle East Lola-Nissan Accident
#8 Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 HYBRID Accident
#0 Highcroft Racing DeltaWing Nissan Accident
#81 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia Accident
#99 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 Accident damage
#16 Pescarolo Team Pescarolo-Judd Power steering
#29 Gulf Racing Middle East Lola-Nissan Accident


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