Now with less that three hours still to go in the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hour race, it was at last time for the teams to start putting their selection of final drivers into play for the run to the chequered flag.

The #7 Toyota TS030 hybrid was soon in for service, and a weary Kazuki Nakajima stepped out of the car in favour of Nicolas Lapierre, which allowed Oliver Jarvis in the #3 Audi R18 e-tron quattro to briefly steal third place.

The Toyota came in a second time just half an hour later, again dropping it behind the Audi, and when he resumed it was close to the back of Jarvis' car and the two engaged in full-on battle for podium position, Lapierre having been told by his pit crew that it was up to him whether to fight for position or opt instead to save the new tyres. He did those tyres no favours at all when he ran wide and put all four wheels off at Indianapolis while pushing hard.

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Meanwhile Jarvis' race-leading team mate Loic Dival had been reporting a vibration in the #2 car - not unlike the concerns that Tom Kristensen had overnight in the same car. The team seemed confident that it was a matter of marble pick-up on the tyres form when the LMP1 leader had been forced offline to get past considerably slower traffic in order to maintain his lead over Anthony Davidson in the #8 Toyota. Kristensen himself returned to the cockpit just before 1pm (12noon BST).

Besides the Jarvis/Lapierre spat at the head of the race, the GTE-Pro battle was the next-most thrilling action on the track during this phase, with Darren Turner doing everything that he possibly could to push the #97 Aston Martin Vantage V8 past class leader Marc Lieb in the #92 Porsche AG Team Manthey. A flying pit stop meant that when the Porsche came in for service and a driver change a few minutes later, Turner finally claimed the position and swept into a strong 16-second lead over the new #92 incumbent Richard Lietz, but still faced one more stop than the Porsche before the finish.

By contrast, there seemed no drama at all at the head of the LMP2 class with Bertrand Baguette in the #35 OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan continuing to lead Alex Brundle in the sister #24 car. Nor did there seem much doubt in the GTE-Am class, where Raymond Narac continued to hold a strong three-minute lead in the #76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 911 GT3 RSR over Daryl O'Young in the #55 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, with Patrick Long doing his best in the #77 Dempsey Del Piero-Proton to take third spot but losing ground to Marco Cioci who was in the #61 Ferrari.

Further back, Matteo Malucelli was in trouble again in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, running off at Mulsanne in the latest burst of showery rain and into deep gravel. The #53 SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R had a problem of a different kind, as it suffered a puncture through the Porsche curves; however, Dominik Farnbacher did a solid job getting the car back to pit lane losing less time than others who have been in a similar situation.

LMP1

1. #2 Kristensen/Duval/McNish Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro * 321 laps (29 stops)
2. #8 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 hybrid * 320 laps (31 stops)
3. #3 Gene/Di Grassi/Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro 320 laps (27 stops)

LMP2

1. #35 Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan * 303 laps (27 stops)
2. #24 Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan * 302 laps (27 stops)
3. #26 Rusinov/Martin/Conway G-Drive Racing Oreca 03-Nissan * 302 laps (28 stops)

GTE-Pro

1. #97 Turner/Mucke/Dumbreck Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 * 290 laps (28 stops)
2. #92 Lieb/Lietz/Dumas Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR * 290 laps (21 stops)
3. #91 Bernhard/Pilet/Bergmeister Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR * 290 laps (20 stops)

GTE-Am

1. #76 Narac/Bourret/Vernay IMSA Performance MATMUT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR * 281 laps (25 stops)
2. #55 Perazzini/Case/O'Young AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia 281 laps (21 stops)
3. #61 Gerber/Griffin/Cioci AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia * 280 laps (22 stops)

* - denotes World Endurance Championship entrant

See full Hour 22 times. Tributes pour in for Allan Simonsen.