Hour six: Ingolstadt marque remains untouchable

Battle for the lead

Hour six: Ingolstadt marque remains untouchable

The Audis refuse to be ousted from the top three positions and remain unthreatened at the sharp end with a quarter of the race gone. Emanule Pirro finally got to open his 68th Le Mans account after taking the wheel of the number eight car on lap 88. The Italian was as calm as one would expect an ex-F1 star to be before beginning his first stint.
"I will be trying to catch up," said Pirro. "We are behind after we had a problem with a tyre and also the pace car. Now we have to get closer to our team-mates.

The competition between the trio of R8's could yet hot up and with only six hours gone it is of course somewhat early - nevertheless, the issue of team orders looms.

The Mario legend continues to suffer as the Italian is set to stay in the Panoz LMP for a double stint, despite lapping at up to nine seconds off the Panoz pace. The number 11 car remains unchallenged in fourth but is no longer on the same lap as the Audis.

On Lap 79 of the leaders, the number one Cadillac returned to the race after a mammoth 44 minute pit-stop with Andy Wallace at the Helm. The 4.0 litre V8 Cadillac suffered a puncture while running in 18th place in the hands of Franck Lagorce. The Frenchman limped the car back to the pits where the mechanics had to rebuild the rear suspension which was broken by tyre damage. Three laps previously, the sister Cadillac had also returned to the action after a similarly lengthy stop, driven by Wayne Taylor.


The 675LMP class is lead by the Lola B2KJ40 of the Canadian Multimatic team yet is behind some seven GTS cars including the class leading 51 car of Beretta/Wendlinger/Dupuy which is creeping up on a top 10 spot in 13th position. The 675 leaders are also being put to shame by the leading GT3 Dick Barbour Porsche which is snapping at the heels of the Multimatic Lola in 22nd place.


The Audi R8's are capable of running one extra lap from a full tank of fuel than the Panoz cars, which over the course of the entire race means the Ingolstadt cars can make up to two fewer pit-stops - a definite strategic advantage.
The final Chrysler Mopar number six car run by the Oreca outfit came to stop out on the circuit. The team must now decide how to get the car back to the pits and back on the track.

Pos No Drivers Car Class Laps/Time

9, L Aiello, A McNish, S Ortelli, Audi R8 (900), 87 laps
7, M Alboreto, C Abt, R Capello, Audi R8 (900), +12.400
8, F Biela, T Kristensen, E Pirro, Audi R8 (900), +1:58.645
11, D Brabham, J Magnussen, M Andretti, Panoz Spyder LMP (900), +1 lap
12, H Katoh, J O'Connell, P H Rapanel, Panoz Spyder LMP (900), +2 laps
21, M Schiattarella, D de Radiguez, E Naspetti, Lola-Judd B2K (900), + 3 laps
3, E Bernard, E Collard, F Montagny, Cadillac LMP (900) + 3 laps
24, S Johansson, J Matthews, G Smith, Reynard-Judd 2KQ (900), + 3 laps
15, T Bscher, J M Gounon, G Lees, BMW LMP (900), + 4 laps
22, K Tsuchiya, M Kondo, A Iida, Panoz Spyder LMP (900), + 4 laps


Class No Driver Car Time
900 8, T Kristensen Audi R8 3m38.184s


Class No Drivers Car Class Time
32, S Maxwell, J Graham, G Wilkins, Lola-Nissan B2K/40, 10 laps
51, O Beretta, K Wendlinger, D Dupuy, Oreca Viper, 8 laps
83, D Muller, L Luhr, B Wollek, Porsche GT3R, 11 laps


No Drivers Car Laps Reason
4, M Goossens, C Tinseau, K Kolby, DAM'S Cadillac LMP (900), fire - 5 laps
5, Y Dalmas, N Minassian, J P Belloc, ORECA Reynard-Mopar 2KQ (900), oil pressure - 1 lap
20, J Lammers, P Kox, T Coronel, Konrad Lola B2K/10 (900), retired
33, J D Deletraz, R Kelleners, D Terrien, ROC VW (675), engine,
77, C Bouchut, J Chereau, P Gouselard, Porsche GT3-R, accident, 34 laps

For a list of race positions at the six-hour mark click here.

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