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WEC NEWS 

LM24 H15: Toyotas slip back as Duval strengthens lead

Loic Duval Audi Le Mans 2013

Loic Duval strengthened Audi's grip on the lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours in the race's 15th hour as Sebastien Buemi's Toyota slipped almost three minutes behind.

The #2 R18 e-tron Quattro retained a relentless pace throughout the uninterrupted hour to add 50s to its lead over Buemi in the #8 Toyota.

In third place, Alexander Wurz also dropped back from his team-mate, almost 1m30s behind in the #7 TS030 HYBRID.

The second Toyota's podium position is precarious, the Austrian driver just 2m30s ahead of Marc Gene in the #3 Audi, who slashed the gap between the two cars in half during the hour.

Benoit Treluyer remains behind the two Rebellion-Lolas and the Strakka HPD in the #1 Audi, though moved onto the same lap as the latter following Jonny Kane's spin the previous hour.

In the battle for the LMP2 lead, Olivier Pla's #24 OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan is 40s clear of his team-mate Bertrand Baguette in the #35 car.

Pla, who had closed the gap to less than a second by 0530, pitted first and claimed the lead when Baguette took over from Martin Plowman behind the wheel.

Michael Krumm's #42 Greaves Zytek-Nissan now heads the battle for the final podium place, having taken advantage of an off at the Esses for Lucas Luhr's Zytek-Nissan.

Luhr, who had been third, ended the hour sixth in class as his car sat in the garage with a front wheel askew and being repaired.

Further back in the class, Romain Brandela, aboard the #39 DKR Lola-Judd, endured a nightmare hour.

First, he spun at the Dunlop chicane, and made it as far as the Esses before pitching the fourth-placed GTE Am Proton Porsche of Paolo Ruberti into a spin and delaying Darryl O'Young's #55 AF Corse Ferrari.

That incident came under investigation while Proton checked the car over in the pits.

When it left the garage, the 48th-placed car - still with Brandela at the wheel - almost forced Buemi's Toyota off the road at the Dunlop chicane, and then ran straight on at the first Mulsanne chicane moments later.

The #92 Manthey Porsche continues to lead the GTE Pro battle, now in the hands of Richard Lietz. Frederic Makowiecki had clawed the #99 Aston Martin's deficit back to around a minute, but a changeover to Bruno Senna meant the gap rose to 1m16.

Further back the #93 Viper of Tommy Kendall lost further ground with a brake-disc change in the pits and a gravelly excursion.

Raymond Narac, in the #76 Imsa Porsche, remains out in front in GTE Am. O'Young is second despite his trip across the gravel, with Matt Griffin making it two Ferraris in the podium positions.

POSITIONS AFTER 15 HOURS

Pos Cl      Car       Drivers                         Laps  Gap
 1. P1  #2  Audi      Kristensen/McNish/Duval         219   
 2. P1  #8  Toyota    Davidson/Sarrazin/Buemi         219   + 2m58.432s
 3. P1  #7  Toyota    Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima          218   +     1 Lap
 4. P1  #3  Audi      Gene/Jarvis/di Grassi           218   + 2m31.187s
 5. P1  #13 Lola      Beche/Belicchi/Cheng            212   +    7 Laps
 6. P1  #12 Lola      Prost/Jani/Heidfeld             210   +    9 Laps
 7. P1  #21 HPD       Leventis/Kane/Watts             210   +   51.259s
 8. P1  #1  Audi      Lotterer/Treluyer/Fassler       208   +   11 Laps
 9. P2  #24 Morgan    Pla/Brundle/H Hansson           207   +   12 Laps
10. P2  #35 Morgan    Baguette/Plowman/Gonzalez       207   +   40.969s
11. P2  #42 Zytek     Krumm/Mardenborough/Ordonez     206   +   13 Laps
12. P2  #38 Zytek     Dolan/Turvey/Luhr               205   +   14 Laps
13. P2  #26 Oreca     Rusinov/Martin/Conway           205   + 4m15.961s
14. P2  #46 Oreca     Thiriet/Badey/Martin            205   + 4m49.070s
15. P2  #49 Oreca     P-Companc/Kaffer/Minassian      204   +   15 Laps
16. P2  #43 Morgan    Gachnang/Mailleux/Lombard       203   +   16 Laps
17. P2  #32 Lotus     Holzer/Kraihamer/Charouz        200   +   19 Laps
18. P2  #33 HPD       Tucker/Franchitti/Briscoe       199   +   20 Laps
19. P2  #48 Oreca     Hartley/Chandhok/Patterson      199   + 1m49.439s
20. P2  #47 Morgan    Imperatori/Howson/Tung          199   + 3m16.404s
21. GTP #92 Porsche   Lieb/Richard Lietz/Dumas        199   + 3m19.723s
22. GTP #99 Aston     Makowiecki/Senna/Bell           198   +   21 Laps
23. GTP #97 Aston     Mucke/Turner/Dumbreck           198   + 1m24.833s
24. GTP #91 Porsche   Bergmeister/Pilet/Bernhard      198   + 2m28.545s
25. GTP #51 Ferrari   Bruni/Fisichella/Malucelli      197   +   22 Laps
26. GTP #71 Ferrari   Beretta/Kobayashi/Vilander      196   +   23 Laps
27. P2  #36 Alpine    Ragues/Panciatici/Gommendy      196   +    1.778s
28. P2  #34 Oreca     Frey/Niederhauser/Bleekemolen   196   + 1m38.427s
29. P2  #41 Zytek     Rossi/K-Smith/Lux               196   + 1m43.198s
30. GTP #74 Corvette  Gavin/Milner/Westbrook          196   + 1m45.570s
31. GTP #73 Corvette  Garcia/Magnussen/Taylor         195   +   24 Laps
32. GTP #98 Aston     Dalla Lana/Lamy/Auberlen        194   +   25 Laps
33. P2  #45 Morgan    Nicolet/Merlin/Mondolot         193   +   26 Laps
34. GTA #76 Porsche   Narac/Vernay/Bourret            192   +   27 Laps
35. GTA #55 Ferrari   Perazzini/O'Young/Case          192   + 3m28.063s
36. GTA #61 Ferrari   Gerber/Griffin/Cioci            191   +   28 Laps
37. GTA #77 Porsche   Dempsey/Foster/Long             191   + 1m30.302s
38. GTP #53 SRT       Farnbacher/Goossens/Dalziel     191   + 3m07.829s
39. GTA #67 Porsche   Gibon/Milesi/Henzler            190   +   29 Laps
40. GTA #75 Porsche   Collard/Perrodo/Crubile         190   +    9.154s
41. GTA #50 Corvette  Bornhauser/Canal/Taylor         189   +   30 Laps
42. GTA #96 Aston     Goethe/Campbell-Walter/Hall     189   +    5.949s
43. P2  #40 Oreca     Dagoneau/Downs/Younessi         189   +   20.336s
44. GTP #93 SRT       Wittmer/Kendall/Bomarito        189   +   58.837s
45. GTP #66 Ferrari   Bertolini/Faisal/Qubaisi        187   +   32 Laps
46. GTA #88 Porsche   Ried/Roda/Ruberti               185   +   34 Laps
47. GTA #81 Ferrari   Potolicchio/Aguas/Bright        181   +   38 Laps
48. P2  #39 Lola      Porta/Brandela/Raffin           172   +   47 Laps
49. GTA #70 Corvette  MacNeil/Rodrigues/Dumas         158   +   61 Laps
50. P2  #30 Lola      Mowlem/Burgess/Hirschi          153   Retired
51. GTA #54 Ferrari   Mallegol/Bachelier/Blank        147   Retired
52. GTA #57 Ferrari   Krohn/Jonsson/Mediani           111   Retired
53. P2  #25 Oreca     Graves/Hamilton/Nakano          101   Retired
54. P2  #28 Lola      Giroix/Haezebrouck/Ihara        22    Retired
55. P2  #31 Lotus     Weeda/Rossiter/Bouchut          17    Retired
56. GTA #95 Aston     Simonsen/Nygaard/Poulsen        2     Retired
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