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Le Mans 24 Hours: Hours 1-3

Peugeot leads Le Mans after the opening three hours of racing
Peugeot holds the lead after the first three hours of the Le Mans 24 Hours, although the team has already run into problems after the pole-winning #3 car was forced out of the race.

Pedro Lamy had led the race in the #3 through the first hour of the race, although much of the opening hour was run behind the Safety Car after 1992 F1 title winner Nigel Mansell crashed out in the first 15 minutes after suffering a puncture.

That Safety Car period would prove to have a major impact on the race as the leading four Peugeots were all caught up behind one Safety Car and the leading Audi was caught behind the second – putting it a minute behind straightaway.

Lamy maintained the lead into the second hour before Montagny moved to the head of the field following the first round of pitstops but the Portuguese driver would be forced to retire from second place in the third hour when broken suspension caused irreparable damage to the tub of the #3 machine.

Lamy had just taken the lead of the race as Montagny pitted to hand over to Stephane Sarrazin, so the Frenchman then inherited the lead straightaway and he led the #1 car – now in the hands of Anthony Davidson – by just under eight seconds at the three hour mark.

The Oreca-run Peugeot holds third place on a different strategy to the factory cars that has seen it dicing for position with the leading Audi. The #7 car benefitted from the usual early charge from Allan McNish but the Scot was unable to get ahead on the opening laps.

The #7 car is currently just ahead of the #9 on track with the #8 slightly further back in sixth place.

The two Aston Martin Racing entries head the petrol powered runners in seventh and eighth, with the #13 Rebellion Racing Lola and the first of the Kolles Audis rounding out the top ten.

Aside from the problems for Peugeot and Beechdean Mansell, the Autocon Lola managed less than a lap before stopping on track with mechanical issues that forced it to retire from the race while the Drayson Racing Lola has also lost time in the pits with mechanical issues.

LMP2 is headed by the Strakka Racing HPD after a solid start to the race for the British team, with a handy advantage over the Highcroft Racing entry after it lost time with a slower than usual stop. The HPD-powered RML Lola lies third in class.

GT1 is headed by the leading Matech Competition car ahead of the Young Driver Aston Martin following problems for the Marc VDS Racing car. Bas Leinders had been second before crashing at the Dunlop Curve in the third hour. Although he got the car back to the pits, it faces a lengthy period in the pits to repair extensive damage to the rear end. Beyond expectations, the JLOC Lamborghini is still running, albeit well down the order after a puncture.

GT2 sees the Corvettes at the front although the Risi Ferrari that should have started from pole is right in contention despite a post-qualifying penalty dropping it to the rear of the field. Amongst the GT2 runner in trouble, the BMW 'Art Car; suffered a puncture to plummet down the order while the IMSA Performance MATMUT Porsche suffered a lurid spin at one of the Mulsanne Chicanes.

The Jaguar is amongst those cars to retire with an electrical issue meaning it managed just four laps.

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TooBored - Unregistered

June 12, 2010 6:05 PM

Who here thinks 2 safety cars are just plain stupid? Racing drivers are not idiots, if you have a full course yellow they are going to slow down. You just have to indicate it to them clearly and remind what's the pit radio for if not for the team to send instructions to their driver?

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