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H19: Audi lead by five laps

Peugeot's lack of pace in the early stages of the race was down to its drivers, says Peugeot's technical director Bruno Famin

With Sebastien Bourdais setting the fastest lap of the race overall, the Peugeot has proven that it is capable of the speed to match the Audis in the right conditions.

However, the drivers were under strict instructions to bring their cars back in one piece in the difficult early conditions.

"We did not define the pace at the start of the race because the conditions were so difficult," said Famin. "We told the drivers; 'you know better than us how you have to drive. From one corner to another the conditions can change so be careful, bring back the car, and choose your pace.'"

Le Mans continues to be led by Audi, driven by Emanuele Pirro, with Peugeot filling second and third positions. Jacques Villeneuve has taken over the number 7 908 from Marc Gene, while Pedro Lamy continues in the number 8 car.

The pace of Pirro and Lamy continued to be quick, in the high 3:20s and the low 3:30s, while Villeneuve lapped in the 3:38 bracket.

Just before the end of the hour, Pirro pitted to hand to Marco Werner who maintains a comfortable lead. The team confirmed that a wheel nut coming loose was the cause of Capello's accident just after 7:30 am.

In Ferrari land, the Scuderia Ecosse team suffered a broken driveshaft while leading the class with Tim Mullen at the wheel. In trying to get the Ferrari back to the pits, the effort caused the Ferrari to overheat.

The Risi Competizione team, which also had taken its turn at the head of the field, was officially retired with a water pump failure.

The RML team suffered disappointment when Mike Newton brought the MG Lola back to the pits having completed almost half a lap with white smoke billowing out of the back of the car.

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