Le Mans »

Hour 7: Technical problems derail #1 Audi's lead

Benoît Treluyer has been looking serene in the lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours race as the light faded, but then a sensor failure cost him the lead and meant the Audi crew had to fly into action.
With the daylight rapidly fading and the glare of headlights becoming much more prominent, the changing conditions didn't seem to break the machine-like precision of the three Audis as they continued to clock up the miles and laps seemingly without problem.

The Audis were putting in times almost six seconds a lap faster than anyone else on the track, regularly even managing to beat the qualifying times of their rivals while running in race conditions - an impressive, dominant and so far bullet-proof performance by the German marque.

The same couldn't be said for the other LMP1 cars, with the #7 Toyota TS030 hybrid suffering a low fuel pressure problem which lost Alexander Wurz over half a minute. Nor was it plain sailing for the #21 Strakka Racing HPD ARX-03c car piloted by Jonny Kane, which suffered a water leak putting him on the back foot in his battle with the Rebellion Racing duo; and Rebellion weren't immune either, the Neel Jani's #12 Lola B12/60-Toyota pulling into the team garage just before the top of the hour.

But just as it looked that nothing was going to befall the Audis, suddenly the pendulum of luck swung against them. The first stutter a problem with the race-leading #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro getting away after its latest pit stop that forced the crew members to rock the car back and force to encourage the gearbox into service before Benoît Treluyer could get away.

But minutes later there was a more serious issue, this time for the #3 car driven by Oliver Jarvis who spun after contact with an LMP2 car resulted in a puncture that delaminated the tyre. It Jarvis limping around nearly a full lap of the 8.469-mile, 38-turn Circuit de la Sarth in order to get service: the team radio told him to take is easy and not risk further damage to the car until they could assess the situation.

Of the two incidents, you'd have expected Jarvis' situation to be by far the most compromised, but in fact a quick look over the bodywork of the #3 was enough to reassure the crew that all was well. A new set of tyres and Jarvis was on his way.

Which was just as well, because Audi needed the garage space and all hands on desk for Treluyer, who had come straight back into pit lane after his earlier stutter. The problem was a crank shaft sensor failure, and it not a quick repair job. The lead was already a distant memory.

All that Audi drama meant that Loïc Duval in the #2 car was out in front, ahead of the #8 and #7 Toyotas now driven by Stéphane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima respectively. They were ahead of the #3 Audi, in which Marc Gene had taken over driving duties from Jarvis.

Elsewhere, the #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 03-Nissan driven by John Martin was in the lead of the LMP2 class, with Bruno Senna having blazed his way to the front of the GTE-Pro class for the #99 Aston Martin Racing team and Gianluca Roda having assumed control of the GTE-Am class in the Proton Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.

LMP1

1. #2 Kristensen/Duval/McNish Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro * 104 laps (9 stops)
2. #8 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 hybrid * 103 laps (8 stops)
3. #7 Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 hybrid * 103 laps (8 stops)

LMP2

1. #26 Rusinov/Martin/Conway G-Drive Racing Oreca 03-Nissan * 98 laps (9 stops)
2. #35 Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan * 98 laps (9 stops)
3. #38 Dolan/Turvey/Luhr Jota Sport Zytek-Nissan 97 laps (8 stops)

GTE-Pro

1. #99 Bell/Makowiecki/Senna Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 * 94 laps (6 stops)
2. #92 Lieb/Lietz/Dumas Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR * 94 laps (6 stops)
3. #97 Turner/Mucke/Dumbreck Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 * 94 laps (6 stops)

GTE-Am

1. #88 Ried/Roda/Ruberti Proton Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSR * 91 laps (6 stops)
2. #55 Perazzini/Case/O'Young AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia 91 laps (6 stops)
3. #76 Narac/Bourret/Vernay IMSA Performance MATMUT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR * 91 laps (6 stops)

See full Hour 7 times.
Tributes pour in for Allan Simonsen.


Tagged as: Toyota , Audi , Jarvis , Duval , Sarrazin , Jani , Treluyer

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Andre Lotterer / Benoit Treluyer / Marcel Fassler Audi R18 e-tron quattro
Benoit Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audia R18 e-tron quattro
Toyota Racing
Toyota Racing
Toyota Racing 2014 Champions
Toyota Racing 2014 Champions
Podium (l-r)  Dominik Kraihamer / Andrea Belicchi / Fabio Leimer Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-One Toyota. Nicolas Prost / Nick Heidfeld / Mathias Beche Rebellion R-One Toyota.
P1 Podium (l-r) Lucas Di Grassi / Loic Duval / Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro, Romain Dumas / Neel Jani / Marc Lieb Porsche AG Porsche 919 Hybrid, Anthony Davidson / Sebastien Buemi Toyota Racing Toyota TS 040 Hybrid.
Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro and Anthony Davidsoni Toyota Racing Toyota TS 040 Hybrid
Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro and Anthony Davidsoni Toyota Racing Toyota TS 040 Hybrid
Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro
Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro
Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro
Nick Heidfeld Rebellion R-One Toyota.
Emerson Fittipaldi AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia and Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro
Emerson Fittipaldi AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia and Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro
Lucas Di Grassi Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro
Anthony Davidson Toyota Racing Toyota TS 040 Hybrid

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