17hrs: The gap closes

Two Audis are neck and neck at the front of the field at Le Mans. A mistake from Dindo Capello has meant that the Goh Audi now leads by less than a lap. The pair finished the hour wheel to wheel down the Mulsanne as the race enters a decisive phase.

17hrs: The gap closes

Capello locked up a wheel and ran over the second Mulsanne chicane early in the hour, which meant the car had to come in early for a tyre and driver change, just four laps after its previous stop.

"It was very difficult to brake because the tyres were on their fourth stint," said Capello. "I got a big flat spot and decided to come in because I was afraid of the tye exploding."

Tom Kristensen, eyeing a record-equalling sixth Le Mans win, took the opportunity to jump in the car. The Goh Audi and the Audi UK car are now on completely different pit strategies, which could be vital later in the race.

The times are not as spectacular as in the last hour, but the Audi UK car is still going quicker than the Team Goh car. Johnny Herbert took over from Jamie Davies after Davies' ultra-quick stint, although Herbert had only recently driven the car. Guy Smith remains on the sidelines as the team bids to chase down the leaders.

The third-placed Pescarolo-Judd has been briefly in the garage for some attention, but kept its place partly thanks to the Champion Audi going off the road earlier in the hour. But the pair are split by less than a lap and the Audi (driven by JJ Lehto) continues to catch the locally-made car.

Ara/Capello/Kristensen Audi R8 LM1 266 laps completed
Davies/Herbert/Smith Audi R8 LM1 265 laps
Ayari/Comas/Treluyer Pescarolo-Judd LM1 257 laps
Lehto/Werner/Pirro Audi R8 LM1 256 laps
Collard/Bourdais/Minassian Pescarolo-Judd LM1 250 laps
Enge/Kox/Menu Ferrari 550 GTS 246 laps
Coronel/Wilson/Firman Dome-Judd LM1 238 laps
Gavin/Beretta/Magnussen Corvette GTS 241 laps
Andre/Leuenberger/Vanni Lola-Judd LM1 241 laps
Biela/Kaffer/McNish Audi R8 LM1 237 laps
Fellows/O'Connell/Papis Corvette GTS 235 laps
Lammers/Dyson/Kaneishi Dome-Judd LM1 232 laps
Kelleners/Ortelli/Dumas Porsche GT 232 laps
Maasen/Bergmeister/Long Porsche GT 228 laps
Stirling/Lupberger/McGarrity Nasamax-Judd LM1 227 laps
McRae/Rydell/Turner Ferrari 550 GTS 227 laps
Bouchut/Goueslard/Dupard Ferrari 550 GTS 226 laps
Kurosawa/Nishizawa/Oriodo Porsche GT 226 laps
Burgess/Collin/Bagnall Porsche GT 222 laps
Nielsen/Elgaard/Moller Lister LM1 222 laps
Alphand/Laveille/Almeras Porsche GT 221 laps
Wilson/Montain/Hugenholtz Ferrari 360 GT 221 laps
Donaldson/Fisken/Nielsen Porsche GT 220 laps
Berridge/Caine/Stockton TVR GT 216 laps
Newton/Erdos/Kinch Lola-MG LM1 213 laps
Tomlinson/Greensall/Evans TVR GT 208 laps
Khan/Smith/Sugden Porsche GT 207 laps
Binnie/Field/Sutherland Lola-Judd LM2 197 laps
Terada/Roussel/Porta WR LM2 178 laps
Sharpe/Hyde/Cunningham Morgan GT 159 laps
Bouvet/Gommendy/Briere WR LM2 123 laps
Short/Barff/Barbosa Dallara-Judd LM1 230 laps
Hindery/Lieb/Rockenfeller Porsche GT 223 laps
Katoh/Michigami/Fukuda Dome-Mugen LM1 206 laps
Hezemans/Deletraz/Barde Ferrari 575 GTS 200 laps
Bosch/Sullivan/Biagi Ferrari 575 GTS 167 laps
Wallace/Brabham/Shimoda Zytek LM1 163 laps
Rosa/van Merkstein/Caffi Porsche GT 148 laps
Melo/Daoudi/de Fournoux Ferrari 360 GT 133 laps
Frei/Gounon/Hancock Courage-AER LM2 127 laps
Jeanette/Pickering/Derlot Courage-Willman LM2 124 laps
Maurylaribiere/Boulay/Besson Reynard-Lehman LM1 122 laps
Belmondo/Gosselin/Saviozzi Courage-AER LM2 80 laps
Vasiliev/Fomenko/Nearn Porsche GT 65 laps
Bourdais/Blanchemain/Berville Panoz LM1 54 laps
Andrews/Lockie/Kumpen Lola-Caterpillar LM1 35 laps
Field/Dayton/Connor Lola-Judd LM1 29 laps
Warnock/Matthews/Daniels Porsche 27 laps

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