Hour 3: Audi Takes Top 3

The Le Mans 24 Hours started to take on a familiar shape at the end of the third hour, with the all-conquering Audi R8 occupying the first three places

Hour 3: Audi Takes Top 3

The number two Champion Audi racing car of Emanuele Pirro led the other Champion Racing entry of Marco Werner and the Team Oreca car of Stephane Ortelli.

Erik Comas' Pescarolo Sport had looked comfortable in the lead, however he came into the pits after 40 laps with gear selection problems. The Pescarolo mechanics took the bodywork off and started working on the transmission.

The number 16 car briefly got out again before losing drive on the Mulsanne Straight. Comas managed to find enough drive to get it back to the pits for further work but the car ended the hour in 13th.

The hour ended calmly behind the safety car, after race organisers chose to clear up oil dropped by the number 39 Chamberlain-Synergy Lola, with Peter Owen driving.

Martin Short's number 18 Rollcentre Dallara Judd was still running strongly in fourth, while the sister Nissan-powered car was still only completing enough laps to keep it in the race while the engineers worked on firing the engine up to racing performance.

In LMP2 the Krusse Motorsport Courage of Ian Mitchell continued to dominate, a lap ahead of Paul Belmondo's number 37 Courage.

Elsewhere in the category, Juan Barazi outbraked himself at the top of the hour, damaging the LMP2 front body-work by out-braking himself into Arnage. The car continued to fall down the order as repair work was done in the pits.

The DBA Creation managed to get going again after losing 25 minutes due to having to change the waterpump, after Jamie Campbell-Walter noticed the temperature going through the roof.

Aston Martin led the GT1 category with the number 58 car driven by Tomas Enge ahead of the number 63 Corvette driven by Johnny O'Connell.

The sister Aston Martin DBR9 continued to have problems. After Darren Turner had been given two pitlane stop-go penalties for cutting sections of the circuit in the first two hours, the problems were compounded when Stephane Sarrizin was forced to come into the pits to repair the front splitter.

Oliver Beretta suffered the number 64 Corvette's second puncture, on the GT1 car's left-right hand corner. Unfortunately the team suffered the puncture at the same corner of the car, at the same corner on the track, an hour earlier.

The White Lightening Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister led GT2.

The biggest action in the category occurred for Anthony Reid, who spun his GT2 Ferrari 360 Modena at the Mulsanne Corner into the tyre wall, but despite what looked like a fierce trip through the gravel, the Scot continued without a trip into the pits. Tom Coronel also spun the number 85 Spyker.

Pos # Drivers Make Class On Hour 3
1 2 Biela, Pirro, McNish Audi R8 LM P1
2 3 Lehto, Werner, Kristensen Audi R8 LM P1
3 4 Montagny, Gounon, Ortelli Audi R8 LM P1
4 18 Short, Barbosa, Ickx Dallara Judd LM P1
5 17 Loeb, Helary, Ayari Pescarolo Judd LM P1
6 10 Lammers, Julian, Bosch Dome Judd LM P1
7 5 Michigami, Ara, Kaneishi Dome Mugen LM P1
8 12 Schwager, Frei, Vann Courage Judd LM P1
9 58 Enge, Kox, Lamy Aston Martin DBR9 LM GT1
10 9 Hignett, Stack, Kurosawa Zytek 04S LM P1
11 63 Fellows, O'Connell, Papis Corvette C6-R LM GT1
12 64 Gavin, Beretta, Magnussen Corvette C6-R LM GT1
13 30 Bennett, Mitchell, Mullen Courage Judd LM P2
14 16 Collard, Boullion, Comas Pescarolo Judd LM P1
15 50 Goueslard, Dupard, Vosse Ferrari 550 Maranello LM GT1
16 61 Fomenko, Vasiliev, Bouchut Ferrari 550 Maranello LM GT1
17 37 Belmondo, Andre, Sutherland Courage C65 Ford LM P2
18 51 Pescatori, Gollin, Ramos Ferrari 550 Maranello LM GT1
19 32 Fisken, Halliday, Hancock Lola AER LM P2
20 59 Brabham, Sarrazin, Turner Aston Martin DBR9 LM GT1
21 36 Gosselin, Ojjeh, Sharpe Courage C65 Ford LM P2
22 90 Bergmeist., Long, Bernhard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
23 31 Amorim, Iannetta, Pillon Courage - CG LM P2
24 69 Fournoux, Daoudi, Matthews Ferrari 575 GTC LM GT1
25 71 Hindery, Rockenfell., Lieb Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
26 93 Kinch, Kirkaldy, Reid Ferrari 360 Modena LM GT2
27 76 Dumas, Dumez, Narac Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
28 72 Policand, Campbell, Alphand Porsche 911 GT3 RS LM GT2
29 52 Bartyan, Malucelli, Seiler Ferrari 550 Maranello LM GT1
30 89 Nielsen, Thyrring, Ehret Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
31 35 Hillebrand, Hahn, Pickering Courage C65 Judd LM P2
32 91 Pompidou, Blanchema., Yamagishi Porsche 911 GT3 RS LM GT2
33 80 Overbeek, Pechnick, Neiman Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
34 85 Coronel, Crevels, Merksteijn Spyker C8 Spyder LM GT2
35 34 Macaluso, James, Lally Courage AER LM P2
36 7 Minassian, CampbellW., Wallace DBA Judd LM P1
37 83 Collin, Felbermayr, Shep Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
38 92 Macari, Eriksson, Wilson Ferrari 360 Mo. GTC LM GT2
39 25 Erdos, Newton, Hughes Lola MG LM P2
40 20 Rostan, Haezebrou., Bruneau Pilbeam JPX LM P2
41 23 Bouvet, Boulay, Julien WR LM P2
42 33 Zlobin, Briere, Barazi Courage AER LM P2
43 39 Evans, Berridge, Owen Lola AER LM P2
44 95 Hartshorne, Stanton, Johnson TVR Tuscan 400 R LM GT2
45 24 Terada, Roussel, Binnie WR Peugeot LM P2
46 78 Sellers, Franchitti, Bourdais Panoz Elan LM GT2
47 77 Auberlen, Liddell, Maxwell Panoz Elan LM GT2
48 13 Cochet, Nakano, Jouanny Courage Judd LM P1
49 8 Verdon Roe, Krumm, Primat Dallara Nissan LM P1
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Author Bruce Jones
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