Hour 18: Lehto Leads

JJ Lehto continues to lead the 73rd edition of the Le Mans 24-hours in the Champion Audi that he shares with Marco Werner and Tom Kristensen. The Finn has a lap and a half lead over the Pescarolo of Erik Comas, who has picked up where he left off shortly before dawn and is lapping in the 3m38 to 3m40 bracket

Hour 18: Lehto Leads

The Pescarolo team is pushing hard and there is still the chance that the Judd-powered French car can catch the Audi on pace alone. Comas has stated that the team needs the lead Audi to break, as the higher temperatures will favour the 3.6 litre V8-powered Audi over the 5-litre V10 Judd and so are making the most of the cooler weather.

Sebastien Loeb had a minor off at Indianapolis, the Frenchman taking to the escape road and escaping with minimal loss of time and no damage to the Pescarolo. Not so lucky was the Creation DBA of Jamie Campbell-Walter, who slid off at the first chicane and hit the retaining wall. The Briton brought the car back to the pits for the Creation team to undertake repairs to the front of the car and it slipped away down the order.

The GT1 battle for fifth place, the best of the rest behind the Aston Martins and the Chevrolet Corvettes, narrowed when the Larbre Competition Ferrari 550 Maranello suffered a left-rear puncture. However, the Russian Age Racing Ferrari could make little difference to the order having lost time earlier this morning with a broken front right damper.

The RML Lola of Tommy Erdos, Warren Hughes and Mike Newton has lost the lead of the LM2 class thanks to a broken gearbox casing. The car dropped to third in the class having spent more than half an hour in the pits by the top of the hour. Didier Andre, Paul Belmondo and Rick Sutherland, the crew which started from pole position in the class, again took the lead of the class, ahead of the sister Courage of Karim Ojjeh, Claude-Yves Gosselin and Adam Sharpe.

Mike Rockenfeller continues to lead Timo Bernhard, the margin of the lead just 1m23s, though Rockenfeller is lapping three seconds per lap quicker than his adversary. Seth Nieman holds third in the Flying Lizard entry.

Pos # Drivers Make Class On Hour 18
1 3 Lehto, Werner, Kristensen Audi R8 LM P1
2 16 Collard, Boullion, Comas Pescarolo Judd LM P1
3 2 Biela, Pirro, McNish Audi R8 LM P1
4 4 Montagny, Gounon, Ortelli Audi R8 LM P1
5 17 Loeb, Helary, Ayari Pescarolo Judd LM P1
6 9 Hignett, Stack, Kurosawa Zytek 04S LM P1
7 58 Enge, Kox, Lamy Aston Martin DBR9 LM GT1
8 64 Gavin, Beretta, Magnussen Corvette C6-R LM GT1
9 59 Brabham, Sarrazin, Turner Aston Martin DBR9 LM GT1
10 63 Fellows, O'Connell, Papis Corvette C6-R LM GT1
11 10 Lammers, Julian, Bosch Dome Judd LM P1
12 12 Schwager, Frei, Vann Courage Judd LM P1
13 50 Goueslard, Dupard, Vosse Ferrari 550 Maranello LM GT1
14 7 Minassian, CampbellW., Wallace DBA Judd LM P1
15 71 Hindery, Rockenfell., Lieb Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
16 90 Bergmeist., Long, Bernhard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
17 18 Short, Barbosa, Ickx Dallara Judd LM P1
18 61 Fomenko, Vasiliev, Bouchut Ferrari 550 Maranello LM GT1
19 80 Overbeek, Pechnick, Neiman Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
20 76 Dumas, Dumez, Narac Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
21 72 Policand, Campbell, Alphand Porsche 911 GT3 RS LM GT2
22 37 Belmondo, Andre, Sutherland Courage C65 Ford LM P2
23 36 Gosselin, Ojjeh, Sharpe Courage C65 Ford LM P2
24 25 Erdos, Newton, Hughes Lola MG LM P2
25 89 Nielsen, Thyrring, Ehret Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
26 30 Bennett, Mitchell, Mullen Courage Judd LM P2
27 92 Macari, Eriksson, Wilson Ferrari 360 Mo. GTC LM GT2
28 83 Collin, Felbermayr, Shep Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
29 35 Hillebrand, Hahn, Pickering Courage C65 Judd LM P2
30 24 Terada, Roussel, Binnie WR Peugeot LM P2
31 95 Hartshorne, Stanton, Johnson TVR Tuscan 400 R LM GT2
32 78 Sellers, Franchitti, Bourdais Panoz Elan LM GT2
33 8 Verdon Roe, Krumm, Primat Dallara Nissan LM P1
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RML Takes LMP2 Lead
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