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WEC NEWS 

Le Mans 24 Hours: #97 Aston Martin in trouble after thrilling fight

Senna GTE Aston Martin

Aston Martin has dropped out of the thrilling battle for GTE Pro honours at the Le Mans 24 Hours with a power-steering problem.

The remaining Pro class Aston Martin Vantage GTE and AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia battled for the lead through the first two thirds of the 19th hour in the respective hands of Bruno Senna and Gianmaria Bruni.

Bruni, who had taken over from Giancarlo Fisichella, closed down the Aston and took the place on the run to the first chicane on the Mulsanne Straight.

The Ferrari was not able to shake off the Aston, which repassed Bruni to take back the lead at Mulsanne Corner.

Shortly afterwards, Senna was forced to pit with a detached power-steering hose, a problem that has already afflicted the #98 GTE Am Aston.

An extended stay of nearly 23 minutes in the garage for the Aston dropped the car to fourth in class and gave Bruni a lead of well over a lap over the #92 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Richard Lietz.

The #1 Audi led the race overall in the hands of Marc Gene. He continued to extend his lead over Mark Webber's Porsche 919 Hybrid.

Webber, who completed a quadruple stint in the car, was unable to match the times of either the leader or the chasing #2 R18 driven by Marcel Fassler.

Fassler briefly moved onto the same lap as the Porsche when Webber stopped to hand over to Timo Bernhard, before a one-lap margin was restored when Fassler was replaced by Andre Lotterer.

There was a major blow for the LMP2-class leader, with the #35 G-Drive-backed OAK Ligier being pushed into the garage shortly before the end of the hour.

With Mardenborough handing over to Shulzhitskiy, the car remains in the garage and has lost the lead to the #46 TDS Ligier, currently driven by Pierre Thiriet.

The #36 Signatech Alpine ORECA would have been well-placed to capitalise on the problems for the Ligier, but the car earlier lost time thanks to a broken left-front upright that forced the team to replace the whole assembly.

The #38 Jota Sport Zytek of Simon Dolan is third in LMP2, but will take second if the #35 Ligier does not return to the track soon.

POSITIONS AFTER 19 HOURS

Pos Cl       Car       Drivers                              Laps  Gap
 1. LMP1 #1  Audi      Di Grassi/Gene/Kristensen            297  
 2. LMP1 #20 Porsche   Bernhard/Webber/Hartley              295  +     2 Laps
 3. LMP1 #2  Audi      Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer            294  +     3 Laps
 4. LMP1 #8  Toyota    Davidson/Lapierre/Buemi              288  +     9 Laps
 5. LMP1 #14 Porsche   Dumas/Jani/Lieb                      286  +    11 Laps
 6. LMP2 #35 Ligier    Brundle/Mardenborough/Shulzhitskiy   278  +    19 Laps
 7. LMP2 #46 Ligier    Thiriet/Badey/Gommendy               278  +  3m05.905s
 8. LMP1 #12 Rebellion Prost/Heidfeld/Beche                 278  +  3m24.645s
 9. LMP2 #38 Zytek     Dolan/Tincknell/Turvey               276  +    21 Laps
10. LMP2 #36 Alpine    Chatin/Panciatici/Webb               275  +    22 Laps
11. LMP2 #24 Oreca     Rast/Charouz/Capillaire              275  +    22.024s
12. LMP2 #43 Morgan    Klien/Hirsch/Brandela                273  +    24 Laps
13. LMP2 #34 Oreca     Frey/Mailleux/Lancaster              272  +    25 Laps
14. LMP2 #33 Ligier    Cheng/Tung/Fong                      269  +    28 Laps
15. LMP2 #42 Zytek     Kimber-Smith/McMurry/Dyson           267  +    30 Laps
16. GTEP #51 Ferrari   Bruni/Vilander/Fisichella            265  +    32 Laps
17. LMP2 #50 Morgan    Ragues/Taylor/Ihara                  264  +    33 Laps
18. LMP2 #29 Morgan    Schell/Leutwiller/Roussel            263  +    34 Laps
19. GTEP #92 Porsche   Holzer/Makowiecki/Lietz              263  +  1m43.626s
20. GTEP #73 Chevrolet Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor              262  +    35 Laps
21. LMP2 #27 Oreca     Zlobin/Salo/Ladygin                  261  +    36 Laps
22. GTEA #95 Aston     Poulsen/Heinemeier-Hansson/Thiim     261  +  2m15.131s
23. GTEP #97 Aston     Turner/Mucke/Senna                   259  +    38 Laps
24. GTEA #88 Porsche   Ried/Bachler/Al Qubaisi              258  +    39 Laps
25. GTEA #61 Ferrari   Perez-Companc/Cioci/Venturi          257  +    40 Laps
26. GTEP #74 Chevrolet Gavin/Milner/Westbrook               257  +    23.430s
27. GTEA #90 Ferrari   Montecalvo/Roda/Ruberti              256  +    41 Laps
28. GTEA #57 Ferrari   Krohn/Jonsson/Collins                256  +    10.711s
29. GTEA #77 Porsche   Dempsey/Foster/Long                  256  +    10.808s
30. GTEA #66 Ferrari   Al Faisal/Neiman/Pumpelly            254  +    43 Laps
31. GTEA #70 Ferrari   Nakano/Ehret/Rich                    254  +  2m07.436s
32. GTEA #98 Aston     Dalla Lana/Lamy/Nygaard              254  +  3m39.590s
33. GTEA #58 Ferrari   Barthez/Pons/Ayari                   253  +    44 Laps
34. GTEA #76 Porsche   Narac/Armindo/Hallyday               250  +    47 Laps
35. GTEP #79 Porsche   MacNeil/Curtis/Bleekemolen           248  +    49 Laps
36. GTEA #67 Porsche   Maris/Merlin/Helary                  246  +    51 Laps
37. GTEA #53 Ferrari   Mowlem/Patterson/Hamilton            245  +    52 Laps
38. GTEP #91 Porsche   Pilet/Bergmeister/Tandy              234  +    63 Laps
39. GTEA #62 Ferrari   Mallegol/Bachelier/Blank             226  +    71 Laps
40. LMP1 #7  Toyota    Wurz/Sarrazin/Nakajima               219  Retired
41. GTEA #72 Ferrari   Bertolini/Shaitar/Basov              196  Retired
42. GTEA #75 Porsche   Perrodo/Collard/Palttala             194  Retired
43. GTEP #52 Ferrari   Griffin/Parente/Leo                  140  Retired
44. LMP2 #26 Morgan    Rusinov/Pla/Canal                    120  Retired
45. GTEA #60 Ferrari   Mann/Case/Giammaria                  115  Retired
46. LMP2 #47 Oreca     Howson/Bradley/Imperatori            87  Retired
47. LMP1 #13 Rebellion Kraihamer/Belicchi/Leimer            73  Retired
48. LMP2 #48 Oreca     Berthon/Gonzalez/Chandhok            73  Retired
49. LMP2 #41 Zytek     Munemman/Latif/Winslow               31  Retired
50. GTEP #71 Ferrari   Rigon/Kaffer/Beretta                 28  Retired
51. LMP1 #3  Audi      Albuquerque/Bonanomi/Jarvis          25  Retired
52. GTEA #81 Ferrari   Wyatt/Rugolo/Bird                    22  Retired
53. LMP2 #37 Oreca     Ladygin/Minassian/Mediani            9   Retired
54. CDNT #0  Nissan    Ordonez/Reip/Motoyama                5   Retired
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