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The #1 Audi of Tom Kristensen, Marc Gene and Lucas di Grassi leads the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours after 17 hours of racing after the sister #2 Audi lost five laps with turbo issues.
Having run faultlessly throughout the race and assuming the top spot when the long-time leading #7 Toyota went out with technical issues, the #2 Audi developed problems of its own as the race entered its 17th hour, Marcel Fassler bringing the car in for an unscheduled stop.
Wheeled into the garage, though mechanics initially thought they had fixed the issue quickly, the R18 wouldn't start when it was pulled out again. Hauled back into the garage, the car would undergo a longer spell under observation.
Spending 23mins in the pit lane, the car has gone from being three laps ahead to being two laps in arrears, though it is now lapping at a good pace.
As such, the #1 Audi has benefitted, with Gene moving in front., while Mark Webber was also in position to take the #20 Porsche in second place and back onto the lead lap.
Indeed, Gene and Webber should have gained more over the troubled Audi had a slow zone and safety car not been in place for much of the hour, prompted by a crash for Viktor Shaitar in the SMP Ferrari. Spinning at the Porsche Curves, the heavy impact would cause damage to the guardrail and necessitate a lengthy repair job under slow conditions.
There is no change in LMP2, with the #35 OAK Ligier still leading, over the Signatech Alpine and the TDS Ligier.
In the GTE Pro class, the #51 AF Corse Ferrari leads the #97 Aston Martin, with Giancarlo Fisichella being chased by Stefan Mucke. Aston Martin continues to lead GTE Am, three laps ahead of the #88 Porsche
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Live text commentary recap of Hour 17: Key moments in bold
Fassler really is pushing! He has just set the fastest first sector of the race so far...
Webber pits the #20 Porsche from second place
That was close! Fassler almost runs into the back of a Ferrari as they thread through Indianapolis to Arnage... the Swiss driver is working hard to keep his #2 Audi in play following its delays
Following Gene's pit-stop, the lead gap has come down to what remains a substantial 1min 45secs
Interestingly though, both the #20 and #14 Porsche have only come in for 19 stops so far - less than its rivals
It's worth pointing out that the #1 Audi and the #20 Porsche aren't quite in-sync with their pit-stops, making the true gap between them hard to judge
In comes the #1 Audi for its 22nd stop of the race
The safety car and slow zones haven't really worked in favour of Mark Webber - he is now 2min 42secs behind the race leading Audi
Off we go again
Vehicles are moving away from the Porsche Curves, suggesting we will be up and running again shortly
Seems officials still aren't happy with that damaged guardrail down at Porsche Curves as a Slow Zone has been put in effect there once again
Stop-go penalty for the #34 Race Performance Oreca for speeding in the pit lane - it is currently runnning fourth in the LMP2 class
The #2 Audi is back out and running again. The safety car meant it was able to get back out without losing another lap
The #70 Taisan Ferrari has out-braked itself into Indianapolis and slid in the gravel trap. Pierre Ehret was at the wheel
Gene is wasting no time in attempting to build a lead on Webber, getting right off line to clear the gaggle of GT cars
Aston Martin have retaken the lead of the GTE Pro class following the Ferrari pit stop, with Giancarlo Fisichella now chasing down Stefan Mucke
Safety car in this lap
It seems Audi hasn't gotten to the bottom of the turbo issues afflicting its formerly race-leading R18
The #2 Audi is back in the pit lane... and back into the garage.
The sole remaining #8 Toyota heads into the pit lane. Given its crash in the second hour of the race, Toyota may be pleased to see the car running fairly quickly in fourth now
Incidentally, the SMP Ferrari had been on for a podium in the LM GTE Am class before its crash. The #95 Aston Martin, currently driven by Kristian Poulsen, remains in the lead
It's a busy track of marshals out there as barriers are repaired, bollards are reinstalled and gravel is swept away
In GTE Pro, the #51 Ferrari of Vilander leads the #97 Aston Martin of Stefan Mucke by over a minute
In LMP2, the #35 OAK Ligier maintains the lead, with the Signatech Alpine in second and the TDS Ligier in third
The #2 Audi is third, two laps behind now, with the #8 Toyota and the #14 Porsche 8 and 10 laps off the lead respectively
Time for a breather then! After all that, the #1 Audi leads this race for the first time, with the #20 Porsche in 2nd and on the same lap
Interestingly, the slow zone remains in place on top of the safety car
There is damage to the barrier at the Porsche Curves
The safety car is now out, suggesting bigger issues down at the Porsche Curves
Having been 3 laps up, the #2 Audi is now 2 laps behind
The #2 Audi is back out after a 23mins pit-stop
Still no word of when this safety zone is going to be lifted - there doesn't seem to be too much urgency down at the Porsche Curves where Shaiter dropped the Ferrari
Bodywork is being placed back on the #2 Audi and looks as though it is being prepared to return to track... but there is still lots of frantic work going on
What a story it would be if the #1 Audi went on to win this race? Even beyond Loic Duval's huge crash on Wednesday, it would be Kristensen's 10th Le Mans win, di Grassi would be the first Brazilian winner of Le Mans and Gene will be a winner after stepping into the car on Thursday
We are still under slow zone conditions and Audi are still frantically trying to get the #2 Audi going again
Webber in the #20 Porsche is about to take 2nd as well. Frustration setting in at Audi as they struggle to get the #2 Audi going again
Across the line and Marc Gene takes the lead in the #1 Audi for the first time in this race... that record 10th win for Tom Kristensen suddenly looks more and more likely
Gene is just one lap shy of taking the lead for the #1 Audi, but there is a slow zone in place due to the SMP Ferrari crash
The #1 Audi and the #20 Porsche - racing with Marc Gene and Mark Webber - are split by 38secs
The #2 Audi is STILL in the pit lane, reportedly with a turbo problem. The #1 Audi and the #20 Porsche are closing on the lead fast
Meanwhile, the SMP Ferrari has suffered a big crash through the Porsche Curves, running wide at the first section and spinning high-speed backwards into the opposing barrier
This is great news for the #1 Audi squad and the #20 Porsche, which are running on the same lap together and stand to really gain from these issues for the #2 Audi
The mechanics are taking the bodywork off and looking carefully into the inner-workings of the car. This is potentially a race-defining moment for the #2 Audi, which has so far run faultlessly in this race.