As the sun rises at La Sarthe, Peugeot continues to lead the way in the Le Mans 24 Hours, although the latest three hours of racing in the famous endurance race were dominated by a heavy accident for the privateer Pescarolo-entered crew.
Much of the 14th hours of the race was spend behind the Safety Car after Benoit Treluyer went off the track at the Esses de la Chapelle on his out lap, the car having just taken a visit to its pit garage for a new nose and to have its ducts cleared.
However, having just exited the pits, Treluyer crashed heavily into the barriers and destroyed the car with medical crews quickly attending the scene. Treluyer was reported to be conscious by the ACO following the accident and was transferred to the medical centre for further evaluation – with the race neutralised for the best part of 45 minutes to allow for the clear-up.
At that point, the Pescarolo machine had been running in a strong fourth place behind the #9 and #8 factory cars and the #1 Audi, with the Audi having slipped back to third during the 13th hour after it was rolled into the garage to have the rear brake ducts cleared.
Audi's hopes of finding a way ahead of the Peugeot's took a further hit when Dindo Capello pitted the car twice behind the Safety Car following Treluyer's incident and the pit crew was forced to work on an overheating turbo on the car.
Another lengthy Safety Car period in the 15th hour, caused by debris on the circuit and then extended by Darren Law going off in the Flying Lizard Porsche, ensured that as the race reached the 15 hour marker, Marc Gene led the way from Sebastien Bourdais by a lap, with Capello the best part of a lap further back in the Audi.
Having endured a drama-filled race, with plenty of problems for two of its cars, the Aston Martin challenge continues to be led by the #007 Lola-Aston Martin which remains in fourth place ahead of the two Kolles Audi R10s – Andre Lotterer and Charles Zwolsman leading the sister car as they battle on without Narain Karthikeyan, who has now officially been ruled out of competing in the race due to his dislocated shoulder. The #15 did survive a collision with the Jetalliance Aston Martin which left the GT1 car stuck in the gravel.
Pescarolo's own Judd-powered machine lies seventh at the 15 hour mark with Oreca's #11, the Speedy Racing Lola Aston and the delayed #008 Aston rounding out the top ten.
The #7 Peugeot lies just outside the top ten, despite running into further issues which resulted in a trip to the garage, while the other remaining Audi is still well down the order and is still to make it back into the top 40.