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Crash.Net Le Mans News

Audi still leads, but down to just one

11 June 2011

Audi continues to lead the way at the eight hour mark of the Le Mans 24 Hours, but just one R18 is left to fight against Peugeot following another massive accident at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Despite the fact that the Peugeots are able to go a lap further on each tank of fuel, the #2 car of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler continued to pull away at the head of the field and had built such an advantage that the car was able to pit without losing position to the chasing pack.

The #7 Peugeot had been running second despite a problem with the door of the car which has refused to stay closed, costing Marc Gene time on track as he dropped into the clutches of Mike Rockenfeller behind.

A mistake at Arnage saw Gene run wide and hand second to Rockenfeller but the German was then involved in a huge accident at the kink between Mulsanne and Indianapolis after tangling with a GTE Ferrari – leaving the Audi in an unrecognisable pile of metal on the side of the circuit.

At the time of writing, Rockenfeller's condition is unknown, although he had climbed from the wrecked car himself.

With a lengthy Safety Car period now following to allow repairs to be carried out to the damaged barriers, Audi lead the way with the #2 car with the thee factory Peugeot's following behind. The #7 sits second ahead of the #9 and the #8, with the Oreca Peugeot in fifth.

Perhaps crucially, the Audi is running behind a different Safety Car to the chasing Peugeots, which will allow the team to maintain its lead when the race does resume.

Pescarolo heads the unofficial petrol class in sixth place ahead of the two Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyotas, while the Kronos Racing Lola-Aston Martin has battled back from earlier problems to climb into the top ten overall.

The #24 OAK Racing Pescarolo is the only other LMP1 car running anywhere near the front of the field, with the Hope Racing Hybrid Oreca suffering a myriad of problems and the #15 OAK Racing entry also in the wars – leaving both more than 50 laps down on the leader.

In LMP2, Team Oreca continues to lead the way and is now into the top ten overall in ninth, with a near lap lead over the Greaves Motorsport car, with the Pecom Racing Lola-Judd in third. Strakka Racing has now dropped down to fourth but has completed an extra stop compared to the cars ahead after the team called the HPD in for a stop behind the Safety Car.

The #74 Corvette continues to lead the way in GTE-Pro with the #59 Luxury Racing Ferrari holding second place and the Prospeed Competition Porsche in third. The two BMW M3 GTs had been right on the pace at the front of the field but lost time with misfires and face a battle to get back on terms with the class leaders.

GTE-AM is a Larbre Competition 1-2, with the team's Porsche 997 RSR heading its Corvette C6.

Retirements:

#1 Audi Sport Team Joest R18 TDI - Accident
#79 JOTA Sport Aston Martin Vantage - Engine
#20 Quifel-ASM Zytek 09 SC - Engine
#3 Audi Sport North America R18 TDI - Accident
#007 Aston Martin Racing AMR-One - Mechanical
#009 Aston Martin Racing AMR-One - Mechanical


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