H23: Audi edges closer to victory

Audi edged closer to victory in the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours as Andre Lotterer in the #2 R18 built up a sizeable lead of 1m22s over the nearest #9 Peugeot of Simon Pagenaud heading into the final hour of the race

H23: Audi edges closer to victory

Peugeot had got back in touch with the lead following a brief, tricky spell of rain, but as the track dried out Audi again had the faster car and Lotterer edged away from the Simon Pagenaud in the #9 Peugeot lap by lap.

It was not all plain sailing for Lotterer however, after a controversial clash with Marc Gene in the #8 Peugeot.

Lotterer had been trying to put another lap on Gene in fourth, but the Spaniard pushed the limits of an acceptable defence as he fought to keep the Audi behind - with the pair even making contact down the Mulsanne straight, before Lotterer eventually found a way through.

Only Lotterer and Pagenaud remain on the lead lap, and with both needing to make at least one further stop it is advantage Audi heading into the race's climax.

Nicolas Minassian is third in the #8 Peugeot ahead of Gene in the sister #7 and Nicolas Lapierre in the #10 Matmut Peugeot.

Neel Jani in the #12 Rebellion Lola meanwhile is the sole remaining LMP1 petrol car, after a heavy crash for the #16 Pescarolo in the previous hour.

The #41 Zytek-Nissan continues to dominate in LMP2, with Olivier Lombard enjoying a lead of more than eight laps over Soheil Ayari in the #26 Signatech Nissan, which in turn is just one lap ahead of the #33 Level 5 Motorsports Lola-HPD.

Having caught and passed the #51 AF Corse Ferrari, Tommy Milner showed no signs of slowing down in the #73 Corvette and had built a lead of more than one minute in GTE Pro heading into the final hour of the race.

Milner handed over to Antonio Garcia 63 minutes from the end, while Giancarlo Fisichella will complete the #51 Ferrari 458's final stint.

Over in the GTE Am class, the #50 Larbre Chevrolet leads the #70 Larbre Porsche by 55s.

NOTES:

- Jan Magnussen lost control of the GTE Pro-leading #74 Chevrolet Corvette and crashed into the #63 Proton Porsche during the 17th hour, putting both cars out.

- 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.

POSITIONS AFTER 23 HOURS

Pos  Car            Team                      Class   Gap
 1.  #2  Audi       Audi Sport Team Joest     (LMP1)  
 2.  #9  Peugeot    Team Peugeot Total        (LMP1)  + 1:21.688
 3.  #8  Peugeot    Peugeot Sport Total       (LMP1)  +   2 Laps
 4.  #7  Peugeot    Peugeot Sport Total       (LMP1)  +   4 Laps
 5.  #10 Peugeot    Team Oreca-Matmut         (LMP1)  +  16 Laps
 6.  #12 Lola       Rebellion Racing          (LMP1)  +  16 Laps
 7.  #22 Lola       Kronos Racing             (LMP1)  +  26 Laps
 8.  #41 Zytek      Greaves Motorsport        (LMP2)  +  27 Laps
 9.  #26 Oreca      Signatech Nissan          (LMP2)  +  34 Laps
10.  #33 Lola       Level 5 Motorsports       (LMP2)  +  34 Laps
11.  #73 Corvette   Corvette Racing           (GTEP)  +  39 Laps
12.  #51 Ferrari    AF Corse                  (GTEP)  +  39 Laps
13.  #49 OAK        OAK Racing                (LMP2)  +  40 Laps
14.  #36 HPD        RML                       (LMP2)  +  40 Laps
15.  #56 BMW        BMW Motorsport            (GTEP)  +  40 Laps
16.  #77 Porsche    Team Felbermayr-Proton    (GTEP)  +  41 Laps
17.  #76 Porsche    IMSA Performance Matmut   (GTEP)  +  42 Laps
18.  #80 Porsche    Flying Lizard Motorsports (GTEP)  +  43 Laps
19.  #40 Oreca      Race Performance          (LMP2)  +  49 Laps
20.  #50 Corvette   Larbre Competition        (GTEA)  +  50 Laps
21.  #70 Porsche    Larbre Competition        (GTEA)  +  50 Laps
22.  #65 Lotus      Lotus Jetalliance         (GTEP)  +  57 Laps
23.  #35 OAK        OAK Racing                (LMP2)  +  60 Laps
24.  #75 Porsche    Prospeed Competition      (GTEP)  +  60 Laps
25.  #66 Ferrari    JMW Motorsport            (GTEP)  +  63 Laps
26.  #83 Ferrari    JMB Racing                (GTEA)  +  67 Laps
27.  #68 Ford       Robertson Racing          (GTEA)  +  67 Laps
28.  #44 Norma      Extr                      (LMP2)  + 107 Laps
29.  #16 Pescarolo  Pescarolo Team            (LMP1)  +  32 Laps
30.  #55 BMW        BMW Motorsport            (GTEP)  +  61 Laps
31.  #74 Corvette   Corvette Racing           (GTEP)  + 126 Laps
32.  #81 Porsche    Flying Lizard Motorsports (GTEA)  + 126 Laps
33.  #48 Oreca      Team Oreca-Matmut         (LMP2)  + 137 Laps
34.  #63 Porsche    Proton Competition        (GTEA)  + 138 Laps
35.  #13 Lola       Rebellion Racing          (LMP1)  Retired
36.  #61 Ferrari    AF Corse                  (GTEA)  + 149 Laps
37.  #59 Ferrari    Luxury Racing             (GTEP)  + 154 Laps
38.  #71 Ferrari    AF Corse                  (GTEP)  + 159 Laps
39.  #88 Porsche    Team Felbermayr-Proton    (GTEP)  + 168 Laps
40.  #42 HPD        Strakka Racing            (LMP2)  Retired
41.  #60 Aston      Gulf AMR Middle East      (GTEA)  Retired
42.  #39 Lola       PeCom Racing              (LMP2)  Retired
43.  #89 Ferrari    Hankook Team Farnbacher   (GTEP)  Retired
44.  #58 Ferrari    Luxury Racing             (GTEP)  + 201 Laps
45.  #64 Lotus      Lotus Jetalliance         (GTEP)  Retired
46.  #57 Ferrari    Krohn Racing              (GTEA)  Retired
47.  #24 OAK        OAK Racing                (LMP1)  Retired
48.  #1  Audi       Audi Sport Team Joest     (LMP1)  Retired
49.  #5  Oreca      Hope Racing               (LMP1)  Retired
50.  #62 Ferrari    CRS Racing                (GTEA)  Retired
51.  #15 OAK        OAK Racing                (LMP1)  Retired
52.  #79 Aston      Jota                      (GTEP)  Retired
53.  #20 Zytek      Quifel-ASM Team           (LMP1)  Retired
54.  #3  Audi       Audi Sport North America  (LMP1)  Retired
55.  #007  AMR-One  Aston Martin Racing       (LMP1)  Retired
56.  #009  AMR-One  Aston Martin Racing       (LMP1)  Retired
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