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WEC NEWS 

Le Mans 24 Hours tenth hour: Lotterer and Audi still on top

Audi Le Mans 2012 Hour 10Andre Lotterer continued to lead the Le Mans 24 Hours in his hybrid-powered Audi diesel, with a comfortable but not insurmountable margin over his team-mates running in second and third.

The pace up front eased up only slightly as Lotterer, Allan McNish and Mike Rockenfeller circulated in the mid 3m30s, mindful of assorted debris on the track as well as oil deposited by one of the GTE runners. Indeed, Rockenfeller made an unplanned stop at the beginning of the hour to have oil smears cleaned off his windscreen.

McNish pitted shortly before the turn of the hour for a routine stop, handing over to Tom Kristensen.

Rebellion's brace of Lola coupes led the petrol-powered contingent, with Nick Heidfeld comfortably ahead of Jeroen Bleekemolen, who in turn was watching his mirrors for the resurgent #3 Audi driven by Loic Duval.

David Brabham had to fight his way back up the order in the JMR HPD after the car suffered a high-speed blow-out while Peter Dumbreck was at the wheel.

The LMP2 lead changed hands after Warren Hughes suffered a puncture in the #48 Murphy Prototypes ORECA-Nissan, which spun him around at the exit of Arnage and caused some bodywork damage.

The car slid to ninth in the class and Olivier Pla took over the lead, holding it until the half-hour mark when he trailed into the pits slowly and was wheeled back into the garage.

That enabled Tom Kimber-Smith and Pierre Ragues to come past, then Pierre Kaffer and Franck Mailleux. Ryan Dalziel took over the Starworks car from Kimber-Smith shortly before the turn of the hour but retained the lead.

In GTE Pro Tommy Milner extended the #74 Corvette's lead over Gianmaria Bruni's Ferrari, but both drivers were setting a vigorous pace. A lap behind, Frederic Makowiecki relieved Milner's team-mate Jordan Taylor of third place in the class.

IMSA Performance owner Raymond Narac remained in charge of GTE Am, outpacing second-placed Patrick Bornhauser by up to four seconds a lap, while Tracy Krohn circulated consistently three laps adrift with little to fear from Brian Vickers who was a further lap down.

NOTES

- Peter Dumbreck suffers blow-out in the #22 JRM HPD

- Spin at Ford chicane for #21 Strakka HPD

- Problems for the #7 Toyota following collision with DeltaWing at the restart.

- Huge crash for Anthony Davidson in the #8 Toyota, leading to lengthy safety car period.

- #29 Gulf Racing Lola B12 the first official retirement.

- #40 hit with a two-minute stop and go penalty for second pitlane speeding offence.

- 30s pit stop penalties for #40 and #49 LMP2s for speeding in pitlane.

- Audi hits early niggles, with Tom Kristensen the third unexpected delay for the marque across its four cars.

- Early GTE Pro scrap between Corvette, Aston Martin and Ferrari.

- #99 Aston Martin Vantage suffers early misfire and then retires with damage.

POSITIONS AFTER 10 HOURS

Pos Car            Drivers                      Class  Laps  Gap
 1. #1  Audi       Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer    LMP1   155   
 2. #2  Audi       McNish/Capello/Kristensen    LMP1   154   +     1 Lap
 3. #4  Audi       Jarvis/Bonanomi/Rockenfeller LMP1   154   + 3m27.221s
 4. #12 Lola       Prost/Heidfeld/Jani          LMP1   150   +    5 Laps
 5. #13 Lola       Belicchi/Bleekemolen/Primat  LMP1   149   +    6 Laps
 6. #3  Audi       Gene/Dumas/Duval             LMP1   148   +    7 Laps
 7. #44 HPD        Potolicchio/Dalziel/K-Smith  LMP2   145   +   10 Laps
 8. #26 Oreca      Ragues/Panciatici/Rusinov    LMP2   145   +   42.719s
 9. #49 Oreca      Perez Companc/Kaffer/Ayari   LMP2   145   +   43.705s
10. #22 HPD        Brabham/Dumbreck/Chandhok    LMP1   144   +   11 Laps
11. #23 Oreca      Tresson/Mailleux/Lombard     LMP2   144   + 1m33.642s
12. #38 Zytek      Hancock/Dolan/Kurosawa       LMP2   144   + 2m34.320s
13. #46 Oreca      Thiriet/Beche/Tinseau        LMP2   143   +   12 Laps
14. #48 Oreca      Firth/Hartley/Hughes         LMP2   143   + 1m02.115s
15. #30 Lola       Sims/Buurman/Iannetta        LMP2   143   + 1m56.284s
16. #33 HPD        Tucker/Bouchut/Diaz          LMP2   143   + 3m44.391s
17. #25 Oreca      Martin/Charouz/Graves        LMP2   143   + 4m20.295s
18. #21 HPD        Leventis/Kane/Watts          LMP1   142   +   13 Laps
19. #15 OAK        Montagny/Kraihamer/Baguette  LMP1   142   +    1.584s
20. #41 Zytek      Zugel/Julian/Gonzalez        LMP2   142   + 1m08.096s
21. #42 Zytek      Brundle/Brundle/Ordonez      LMP2   141   +   14 Laps
22. #40 Oreca      Frey/Hirschi/Meichtry        LMP2   140   +   15 Laps
23. #24 Morgan     Nicolet/Lahaye/Pla           LMP2   139   +   16 Laps
24. #31 Lola       Holzer/Schultis/Moro         LMP2   139   +23m55.073s
25. #74 Corvette   Gavin/Westbrook/Milner       GTEP   139   +24m48.078s
26. #51 Ferrari    Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander    GTEP   139   +25m49.708s
27. #45 Oreca      Briere/Nakano/Petersen       LMP2   138   +   17 Laps
28. #59 Ferrari    Makowiecki/Melo/Farnbacher   GTEP   138   + 2m00.623s
29. #73 Corvette   Garcia/Magnussen/Taylor      GTEP   138   + 2m13.985s
30. #97 Aston      Mucke/Fernandez/Turner       GTEP   137   +   18 Laps
31. #77 Porsche    Lietz/Lieb/Henzler           GTEP   137   +   14.174s
32. #35 Morgan     H Hansson/Leinders/Martin    LMP2   136   +   19 Laps
33. #67 Porsche    Pons/Armindo/Narac           GTEA   135   +   20 Laps
34. #50 Corvette   Bornhauser/Canal/Lamy        GTEA   135   + 1m16.515s
35. #66 Ferrari    Walker/Cocker/Wills          GTEP   134   +   21 Laps
36. #71 Ferrari    Bertolini/Beretta/Cioci      GTEP   134   + 3m22.191s
37. #57 Ferrari    Krohn/Jonsson/Rugolo         GTEA   132   +   23 Laps
38. #61 Ferrari    Kauffman/Aguas/Vickers       GTEA   131   +   24 Laps
39. #58 Ferrari    Ehret/Jeannette/Montecalvo   GTEA   131   +   32.536s
40. #88 Porsche    Ried/Roda/Ruberti            GTEA   130   +   25 Laps
41. #70 Corvette   Bourret/Gibon/Belloc         GTEA   129   +   26 Laps
42. #75 Porsche    al Faisal/Curtis/Edwards     GTEA   128   +   27 Laps
43. #43 Norma      Rosier/Haezebrouck/Thirion   LMP2   126   +   29 Laps
44. #17 Dome       Minassian/Bourdais/Ara       LMP1   126   +13m12.022s
45. #55 Porsche    Daniels/Palttala/Camathias   GTEA   125   +   30 Laps
46. #7  Toyota     Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima       LMP1   125   + 2m06.791s
47. #79 Porsche    Neiman/Pumpelly/Pilet        GTEA   120   +   35 Laps
48. #83 Ferrari    Rodrigues/Illiano/Ferte      GTEA   119   +   36 Laps
49. #28 Lola       Giroix/Badey/Johansson       LMP2   92    +   63 Laps
50. #80 Porsche    Bergmeister/Long/Holzer      GTEP   114   +   41 Laps
51. #8  Toyota     Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin      LMP1   82    +   73 Laps
52. #0  DeltaWing  Franchitti/Krumm/Motoyama    CDNT   75    +   80 Laps
53. #81 Ferrari    Perazzini/Cadei/Griffin      GTEA   70    +   85 Laps
54. #99 Aston      Nygaard/Poulsen/Simonsen     GTEA   31    +  124 Laps
55. #16 Pescarolo  Collard/Bouillon/Hall        LMP1   20    +  135 Laps
56. #29 Lola       Ihara/Deletraz/Rostan        LMP2   17    +  138 Laps
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