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Hour 3: Audi continues to dominate despite Toyota fuel economy

Audi continued to show impressive control of the Le Mans 24 Hours at the end of its third hour, with Toyota unable to match the pace despite showing better fuel conservation.
Andre Lotterer resumed the lead of the race in the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro four minutes into the third hour of racing, when Anthony Davidson brought the #8 Toyota TS030 hybrid in for its slightly deferred but still earlier than expected second pit top.

While the rain had picked up again it wasn't quite enough to get the teams to seriously consider a switch to wet weather tyres, although a spin at Dunlop for Howard Blank in the #54 AF Ferrari and a run-off through the gravel for both Lucas di Grassi in the #3 Audi at Indianapolis spoke volumes about how tricky the track was rapidly getting once again.

Oliver Gavin had a scary overrun through the Dunlop chicane in the #74 Corvette which Tom Milner promptly repeated after taking over the seat at the next pit stop. Kevin Weeda came off the worst in this flurry of incidents when his the #31 Lotus T12 got stuck in the gravel at the second chicane and had to be dragged out by the tractor.

As quickly as the rain had arrived, it was soon easing to a light drizzle again - and that allowed Lotterer to put his foot down once more, his lead over team mates Allan McNish and Lucas di Grassi soon up to half a minute. Both Audi men enjoyed a comparable half minute lead over Davidson,

Nicolas Lapierre had stabilised his laptimes to run within ten seconds of Davidson, but two and a half hours into the race the #7 Toyota came to a temporary halt by the side of Mulsanne with drive problems. The car eventually re-fired - indicating electrical issues rather than engine failure - and Toyota didn't call him into the pits next time by, but had still lost the better part of a minute with the delay.

All three Audis were in shortly afterwards for their third stops, temporarily promoting Davidson back up to second spot behind Lotterer; Lapierre managed to stay out an extra lap and repair some of the damage that his unscheduled stop on the Mulsanne had cost him. He slotted back in to fourth place behind the three Audis but ahead of Davidson.

Olivier Pla continued to pace the LMP2 field in the #24 OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan despite also having a scare over the Dunlop gravel traps, after which he handed over the seat to Alex Brundle. Darren Turner maintained the GTE-Pro lead in the #97 Aston Martin Vantage V8, and the #61 Ferrari 458 Italia driven by Marco Cioci remained in charge of the GTE-Am field after their second pit stops cycled through.

LMP1

1. #1 Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro * 40 laps (3 stops)
2. #2 Kristensen/Duval/McNish Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro * 40 laps + 49.177s (3 stops)
3. #3 Gene/Di Grassi/Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro 40 laps + 55.703s (3 stops)

LMP2

1. #24 Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan * 38 laps (3 stops)
2. #35 Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan * 38 laps (4 stops)
3. #41 Kimber-Smith/Lux/Rossi Greaves Motorsport Zytek Nissan * 38 laps (4 stops)

GTE-Pro

1. #97 Turner/Mucke/Dumbreck Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 * 37 laps (2 stops)
2. #99 Bell/Makowiecki/Senna Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 * 37 laps (2 stops)
3. #92 Lieb/Lietz/Dumas Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR * 37 laps (2 stops)

GTE-Am

1. #61 Gerber/Griffin/Cioci AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia * 36 laps (2 stops)
2. #55 Perazzini/Case/O'Young AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia 36 laps (2 stops)
3. #77 Dempsey/Foster/Long Dempsey Del Piero-Proton Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 36 laps (3 stops)

* - denotes World Endurance Championship entrant

See full Hour 2 times


Tagged as: Lotterer , Pla , Lapierre , McNish , Aavidson , Audi , Toyota

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Andre Lotterer / Benoit Treluyer / Marcel Fassler Audi R18 e-tron quattro
Treluyer/Lotterer/Fassler - Audi Sport [pic credit: FIA WEC]
Davidson/Buemi/Lapierre - Toyota Racing [pic credit: FIA WEC]
Davidson/Buemi/Lapierre - Toyota Racing [pic credit: FIA WEC]
Davidson/Buemi/Lapierre - Toyota Racing [pic credit: FIA WEC]
Wurz/Nakajima/Sarrazin - Toyota Racing [pic credit: FIA WEC]
Kristensen/di Grassi/Duval - Audi Sport [pic credit: FIA WEC]
Davidson/Buemi/Lapierre - Toyota Racing [pic credit: FIA WEC]
Toyota and Audi
Toyota
Toyota
Toyota
Tom Kristensen (DK) Audi with His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent
Tom Kristensen (DK) Audi with His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent
Tom Kristensen (DK) Audi
Tom Kristensen (DK) Audi with His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent
Tom Kristensen (DK) Audi with His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent
Tom Kristensen (DK) Audi with His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent

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