LM24 H1: Andre Lotterer leads Le Mans in the first hour for Audi
|By Stuart Codling||Saturday, June 16th 2012, 14:00 GMT|
Audi's R18 e-tron quattros were on top in the first hour of the Le Mans 24 Hours after both R18 ultras hit problems.
Andre Lotterer led from Allan McNish, who moved up to second place after Loic Duval made an extra stop, while Mike Rockenfeller was just outside the top 10 in the #4 car after a visit to the garage.
Lotterer made a clean start from Duval and with great determination set about establishing a gap.
McNish quickly relieved Stephane Sarrazin of third on the opening lap and then rebuffed the Frenchman's attempt to retake the position on the first section of the Mulsanne Straight.
The Audi trio stretched gradually away from the Toyotas of Sarrazin and Wurz, who swapped places on lap five, with the remaining R18 ultra of Mike Rockenfeller running in isolation in sixth.
A brief flurry of rain passed the north end of the circuit on lap one, enough to prompt Pescarolo to send Emmanuel Collard out on wet tyres in the late-starting #16 car but not enough to tempt any other teams. The dark cloud quickly passed over and deposited no further precipitation, while Collard returned to the garage after one lap.
The Rebellion Lolas circulated together in the early running while the tail end of the top 10 provided great entertainment as David Brabham brought the JRM HPD past Sebastien Bourdais in the Pescarolo-Dome, with Bertrand Baguette's OAK in close attendance.
Bourdais was then wheeled back into the garage at his first pitstop.
Both Toyotas stopped on lap nine, followed in by Rockenfeller in the #4 Audi, but while the TS030 Hybrids left in sync (Sarrazin leaving before his fuel hose was fully disengaged) the R18 ultra was pushed back into the Audi garage for a suspension check. Lotterer and McNish pitted the R18 e-tron quattros a lap later - McNish baulked in the pitlane by one of the Gulf Lola-Nissans - enabling Duval to lead a lap before making his own stop.
Duval had a near-miss in the pitlane as a Signatech Nissan was released into his path, then returned to the pits on lap 12 for new tyres.
John Martin converted LMP2 pole in the ADR-Delta ORECA into an early lead from Olivier Pla's OAK entry and Mathias Beche's ORECA. OAK was fastest in the pits, though, delivering Pla out into the lead while Martin dropped to 13th in class after stalling.
Martin Brundle registered as last on the opening lap but it was merely a transponder glitch, and he was running eighth in class at the end of the first hour.
Lead GTE Pro qualifier Jaime Melo was dumped down to fifth in class in the early laps as Stefan Mucke took the initiative in the #97 Aston Martin, chased by Oliver Gavin's Chevrolet Corvette and Olivier Beretta's Ferrari.
Toni Vilander, starting from the back after the #51 Ferrari's post-shunt rebuild, drove a remarkable opening stint to run fourth within a handful of laps before ultimately overhauling Beretta for third. Melo and Vilander were last to pit, moving to the head of the class at the turn of the hour.
Patrick Pilet, fastest GTE Am qualifier in the Flying Lizard Porsche, led the opening stint while Allan Simonsen brought the #99 Aston Martin past Sean Edwards in the Prospeed Porsche. Matt Griffin led the class at the turn of the hour by dint of pitting last.
- The quickest LMP1 qualifier, Strakka Racing's HPD, was pushed back into the garage before the start and joined the race on lap 6.
- The#17 Pescarolo started the race from the pitlane after an engine change ran late. The team's #16 Dome also pitted with drivetrain issues.
POSITIONS AFTER 1 HOUR Pos Car Drivers Cla Lap Gap 1. #1 Audi Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer LMP1 17 2. #2 Audi McNish/Capello/Kristensen LMP1 17 + 23.788s 3. #7 Toyota Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima LMP1 17 + 44.655s 4. #8 Toyota Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin LMP1 17 + 50.580s 5. #3 Audi Gene/Dumas/Duval LMP1 17 + 1m28.167s 6. #12 Lola Prost/Heidfeld/Jani LMP1 17 + 2m06.459s 7. #13 Lola Belicchi/Bleekemolen/Primat LMP1 17 + 2m38.426s 8. #15 OAK Montagny/Kraihamer/Baguette LMP1 17 + 3m20.543s 9. #22 HPD Brabham/Dumbreck/Chandhok LMP1 16 + 1 Lap 10. #4 Audi Jarvis/Bonanomi/Rockenfeller LMP1 16 + 32.434s 11. #24 Morgan Nicolet/Lahaye/Pla LMP2 16 + 38.896s 12. #46 Oreca Thiriet/Beche/Tinseau LMP2 16 + 51.474s 13. #49 Oreca Perez Companc/Kaffer/Ayari LMP2 16 + 54.523s 14. #35 Morgan H Hansson/Leinders/Martin LMP2 16 + 1m06.585s 15. #44 HPD Potolicchio/Dalziel/K-Smith LMP2 16 + 1m06.869s 16. #48 Oreca Firth/Hartley/Hughes LMP2 16 + 1m07.878s 17. #33 HPD Tucker/Bouchut/Diaz LMP2 16 + 1m27.588s 18. #42 Zytek Brundle/Brundle/Ordonez LMP2 16 + 1m28.749s 19. #45 Oreca Briere/Nakano/Petersen LMP2 16 + 1m31.850s 20. #23 Oreca Tresson/Mailleux/Lombard LMP2 16 + 1m36.545s 21. #26 Oreca Ragues/Panciatici/Rusinov LMP2 16 + 1m40.659s 22. #41 Zytek Zugel/Julian/Gonzalez LMP2 16 + 1m41.049s 23. #25 Oreca Martin/Charouz/Graves LMP2 16 + 1m45.121s 24. #40 Oreca Frey/Hirschi/Meichtry LMP2 16 + 1m49.049s 25. #31 Lola Holzer/Schultis/Moro LMP2 16 + 2m40.507s 26. #38 Zytek Hancock/Dolan/Kurosawa LMP2 16 + 2m47.664s 27. #43 Norma Rosier/Haezebrouck/Thirion LMP2 16 + 3m25.251s 28. #0 DeltaWing Franchitti/Krumm/Motoyama CDNT 16 + 3m28.968s 29. #29 Lola Ihara/Deletraz/Rostan LMP2 16 + 3m34.457s 30. #30 Lola Sims/Buurman/Iannetta LMP2 15 + 2 Laps 31. #51 Ferrari Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander GTEP 15 + 44.458s 32. #97 Aston Mucke/Fernandez/Turner GTEP 15 + 1m15.770s 33. #74 Corvette Gavin/Westbrook/Milner GTEP 15 + 1m18.036s 34. #71 Ferrari Bertolini/Beretta/Cioci GTEP 15 + 1m38.930s 35. #77 Porsche Lietz/Lieb/Henzler GTEP 15 + 1m47.637s 36. #79 Porsche Neiman/Pumpelly/Pilet GTEA 15 + 1m50.075s 37. #99 Aston Nygaard/Poulsen/Simonsen GTEA 15 + 1m51.362s 38. #81 Ferrari Perazzini/Cadei/Griffin GTEA 15 + 1m56.316s 39. #80 Porsche Bergmeister/Long/Holzer GTEP 15 + 2m03.849s 40. #75 Porsche al Faisal/Curtis/Edwards GTEA 15 + 2m04.060s 41. #67 Porsche Pons/Armindo/Narac GTEA 15 + 2m06.827s 42. #73 Corvette Garcia/Magnussen/Taylor GTEP 15 + 2m33.290s 43. #58 Ferrari Ehret/Jeannette/Montecalvo GTEA 15 + 2m38.941s 44. #59 Ferrari Makowiecki/Melo/Farnbacher GTEP 15 + 2m44.184s 45. #50 Corvette Bornhauser/Canal/Lamy GTEA 15 + 2m56.855s 46. #66 Ferrari Walker/Cocker/Wills GTEP 15 + 2m58.278s 47. #88 Porsche Ried/Roda/Ruberti GTEA 15 + 3m14.780s 48. #83 Ferrari Rodrigues/Illiano/Ferte GTEA 15 + 3m26.037s 49. #61 Ferrari Kauffman/Aguas/Vickers GTEA 15 + 3m36.943s 50. #70 Corvette Bourret/Gibon/Belloc GTEA 14 + 3 Laps 51. #57 Ferrari Krohn/Jonsson/Rugolo GTEA 14 + 14.060s 52. #55 Porsche Daniels/Palttala/Camathias GTEA 14 + 36.217s 53. #17 Dome Minassian/Bourdais/Ara LMP1 12 + 5 Laps 54. #21 HPD Leventis/Kane/Watts LMP1 11 + 6 Laps 55. #28 Lola Giroix/Badey/Johansson LMP2 10 + 7 Laps 56. #16 Pescarolo Collard/Bouillon/Hall LMP1 4 + 13 Laps