Hour 23: Audis close up in final hour

Battle for the lead

Hour 23: Audis close up in final hour

As this year's Le Mans 24 hour race lurches into its final hour, unsurprisingly the Joest-run Audis are still firmly ensconced at the head of the field, but Laurent Aiello has upped his pace and could be attempting to catch Emanuele Pirro in the lead car.
The number two car made up precious time to its sister R8 during the last hour behind the pace car. The race went green again 10 minutes into the penultimate hour of the race.

Both Audis then proceeded to come into the pits at exactly the same time for what will likely be their second to last re-fuelling stops. Aiello was the first to make it back onto the drying track and immediately got back up to race speed in an effort to make further time up to Pirro.

It is not known whether the works R8s will be allowed to fight for the lead and Aiello will do well to overthrow the one-lap lead held by the red-nosed number one car.

"At the moment," said Audi Sport boss Wolfgang Ullrich, "it makes no sense to me to break the rhythm of the drivers. They are both capable people."

Behind the leaders, the Bentley marque seems intent on making it to the podium as it returns to La Sarthe for the first time in 70 years. The sole EXP Speed 8 soldiers on in third place in the hands of Belgian Eric van de Poele.



The Gene/Deletraz/Fabre ROC car still dominates the LMP675 class. The car has a 41-lap lead over the only other car still running in the class - the Defournoux/Daoudi/Terada WR. The ROC team are now running fifth overall, 13 laps behind the Beretta/Wendlinger/Lamy Chrysler Mopar.

Corvettes now dominate the GTS class. The leading car is still the Fellows/O'Connell/Pruett Corvette, which is lying tenth overall 41 laps behind the leader. It is now followed by the sister car of Pilgrim/Collins/Freon.

The racelong battle for GT honours is still alive continues, the Rosa/Babini/Drudi 911 is now leading the Jeannette/Dumas/Haezebroeck Porsche 911 by just 1m21s.


1 (900) F.Biela/T.Kristensen/E.Pirro, Audi R8, Joest Audi Sport, 307 laps
2 (900) R Capello/L Aiello/C Pescatori, Audi R8, Joest Audi Sport, + 1 lap
8 (GTP) A.Wallace/B.Leitzinger/E.Vande Poele, Bentley EXP Speed 8, Team Bentley, + 13 laps
16 (900) O.Beretta/K.Wendlinger/P.Lamy, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, Team Playstation, + 22 laps
38 (675) J.D. Deletraz/P.Farbe/J.Gene Reynard-Lehmann 01Q ROC Competition, + 35 laps
17 (900) J C. Boullion/S.Bourdais/L.Redon, Courage-Peugeot C60, Pescarolo Sport, + 37 laps
6 (900) W.Taylor/M.Angelelli/C.Tinseau, Cadillac Northstar LMP, DAMS, + 38 laps
83 (GT) G.Rosa/F.Babini/L.Drudi, Porsche 911 GT3-RS, Seikel Motorsport, + 38 laps
77 (GT) G.Jeannette/R.Dumas/P.Haezebrouck, Porsche 911 GT3-RS, Freisinger Motorsport, + 38 laps
63 (GTS) R.Fellows/J.O'Connell/S.Pruett, Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, Corvette Racing, + 40 laps

Aiello/Capello, Audi R8, Team Joest Audi Sport, 3m39.046s

38 (675) J.D. Deletraz/P.Farbe/J.Gene Reynard-Lehmann 01Q ROC Competition, + 35 laps
63 (GTS) R.Fellows/J.O'Connell/S.Pruett, Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, Corvette Racing, + 40 laps
83 (GT) G.Rosa/F.Babini/L.Drudi, Porsche 911 GT3-RS, Seikel Motorsport, + 38 laps

(900) S Ara/N Amorim/M Kondo, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, ORECA Chrysler, fire
I McKellar/B Lambert/J Mowlem, Saleen S7R, RML, engine
J Lammers/V Hillebrand/D Crevils, Dome-Judd, Racing for Holland, electrics
W Lupberger/B Collins/H Toivonen, Ascari, Team Ascari, engine
(900) Y.Dalmas/F.Montagny/S.Sarrazin, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, ORECA Chrysler, engine
B Mazzuccola/V Rice/C Wagner, Callaway Corvette, Aspen Knolls, engine
(675) D.de Radigues/S.Maassen/H.Matsuda, Reynard-Judd 01Q, Dick Barbour Racing, unknown
c Hurtgen/R Fairbanks/C Gleason, Lola Nissan, Roock-Knighthawk Racing, engine
K McGarrity/M Blundell/J Bailey, MG, MG Sport, engine
(900) K.Graf/J.Davies/G.Formato, Panoz LMP 07, Panoz Motorsports, engine
(900) D.Brabham/J.Magnussen/F.Lagorce, Panoz LMP 07, Panoz Motorsports, unknown
(900) J.Herbert/R.Kelleners/D.Theys, Audi R8, Champion Racing, engine
(900) J.Nielsen/H.Katoh/C.Elgaard, Dome-Judd S101, Den Bla Avis, engine
(GTS) V.Vosse/C.Rosenblad/V.Ickx, Chrysler Viper GTS-R Paul Belmondo Racing, accident
(GTP) M.Brundle/S.Ortelli/G.Smith, Bentley EXP Speed 8, Team Bentley, gearbox
(900) E.Collard/M.Goossens/E.Bernard, Cadillac Northstar LMP, DAMS, stopped
P Gache/A Beltoise/J Policand, Courage, SMG, accident
JC Lagnez/G De Galzain/A Kumpen, Chrysler Viper, Paul Belmondo Racing, accident
(900) S.Johansson/T.Coronel/P.Lemarie, Audi R8, Johansson Motorsport, accident damage
GT R Donovan/T Lingner/C MacAllister, Porsche 911 GT3, Racing Engineering, unknown
(675) A.Reid/W.Hughes/J.Kane, MG-Lola EX257, MG Sport, engine
(675) M.Duno/J.Graham/D.Murry, Reynard-Judd 01Q, Dick Barbour Racing, accident
(GTS) T.Seiler/W.Brun/C.Slater, Saleen-Ford S7R, Konrad Motorsport, accident
(GTS) D.Terrien/J.Cochet/J.P. Dayraut, Chrysler Viper GTS-R, Equipe de France FFSA, accident
(675) W.Carway/M.O'Connell/F.Migault, Pilbeam-Nissan MP84 Rowan Racing, accident

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