H15: Fassler fights to keep lead

An absolutely brilliant 15th hour saw the lead change places twice in two laps as Marcel Fassler led Anthony Davidson by mere seconds in the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours

H15: Fassler fights to keep lead

Fassler had taken the lead after a 25-minute safety car period wiped away the #9 Peugeot's hard-earned lead in the previous hour.

Just as the green flag fell, Simon Pagenaud pulled into the pits and handed over to Sebastien Bourdais. Not long after that Anthony Davidson pitted for more fuel, releasing Fassler at the front. The Swiss driver then pitted himself four laps later but emerged from the pits just in front of Davidson.

There then followed 15 minutes of pure entertainment as the pair ran nose-to-tail for two laps until Davidson dove down the inside into Indianapolis to take the lead.

Undeterred, Fassler kept his foot in and regathered his momentum through the Porsche Curves. The Audi stayed hooked to the Peugeot all the way back out to the Mulsanne and such was his presence in Davidson's mirrors that the Englishman locked his fronts and ran straight on at the first chicane. Fassler was back in the lead.

After that Davidson began to drop back at a rate of about a second a lap, suggesting that he had flat-spotted a tyre.

Behind all this Bourdais ran third 24s back, waiting for his moment to pounce when Fassler and Davidson will inevitably have to make longer stops.

Nicolas Minassian handed over the #8 car in fourth over to Franck Montagny, now the best part of a lap down on the leaders.

Emmanuel Collard remains fifth in the Pescarolo ahead of Neel Jani's sole remaining Rebellion Lola.

Olivier Panis has brought the recovering ORECA Pug back up to seventh.

In the LMP2 class, a frantic restart saw the Greaves Zytek make a mistake and hand the lead to the Oreca of David Hallyday, only for Tom Kimber-Smith to fight back into the lead.

Oliver Gavin, still in the #74 Corvette, continues to lead the GTE Pro field. He's nearly a lap ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella in the AF Corse Ferrari, with Antonio Garcia now third in the second Chevrolet.

Darren Law's Flying Lizard Porsche remains on top in the GTE Am field.

NOTES:

- Jean-Christophe Boullion crashed the Rebellion Lola-Toyota in the 14th hour at the Porsche Curves. He had been running eighth at the time of the shunt.

- Mike Rockenfeller was taken to hospital following a frightening accident that totally destroyed the #1 Audi in the seventh hour of the race. The German had been running third when he made contact with a GTE Ferrari at kink after Mulsanne. Audi later confirmed that the German would be kept in overnight for observation but that he was okay.

- The #3 Audi of Allan McNish crashed out of the race in the first hour having just taken second position. The Scot collected the #58 Luxury Racing Ferrari in the right-hander after the Dunlop Bridge. The heavy impact destroyed the car and McNish was taken to hospital for precautionary checks, but was later released with an all-clear.

- Both Aston Martin AMR Ones ran into trouble on the first lap of the race. Darren Turner spinning with mechanical trouble and Adrian Fernandez stopping out on the Mulsanne. The #007 car of Turner was recovered to the pits where it was discovered an alternator belt tensioner was to blame.

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