Hour 5: Audis Marching On

It's Audi first, second and third at 21:00 as Marco Werner heads the field for Champion Racing at the end of the fifth hour of the race

Hour 5: Audis Marching On

Stephane Ortelli is running second overall in the Oreca Audi, running 1m22s behind Werner, with Allan McNish reeling them both in with the second Champion Racing Audi.

Although their performance is slowed by weight - fuel tank capacity and air restrictor limitations that have been forced upon them this year by race organisers the Automobile Club de l'Ouest - their famed reliability hasn't deserted them.

However, the previously dominant Pescarolos are lapping faster as they attempt to make up lost ground, but they have a long way to go to work their way back to the front, with the better-placed of the delayed duo being two laps down, the other five laps adrift.

The number 17 Pescarolo of Soheil Ayari, Eric Helary and Sebastien Loeb is up to seventh as it makes up ground lost when it had repairs to its bodywork after a clash with a Panoz in the second hour and then a puncture when Helary took over. World Rally Champion Loeb has just headed out of the pitlane for his first stint and it will be interesting to see how he copes with one facet of racing strange to him: overtaking.

The number 16 Pescarolo of Jean-Christophe Boullion, Emmanuel Collard and Erik Comas is only up to 13th after falling as low as 22nd, having lost 25 minutes while a broken paddleshift was replaced. More time was then lost with a puncture.

The most honourable mention must go to the little Rollcentre Racing Dallara driven by Joao Barbosa and Martin Short thus far, for running second and staying on the lead lap until a lengthy pit stop at 20:20 dropped it back to fourth, before Vanina Ickx emerged for her first stint, now a lap down.

Short, who'd just clambered out of the car, said: "I realised that my right foot was sliding around in the footwell and realised that it must be coming from the power steering pump. I fear for poor Vanina as it's going to be very tough for her without power steering."

The Jim Gainer International Dome is fifth with Katsutomo Kaneishi having to keep on a charge as Jan Lammers closes in on him in the older Dome of Racing for Holland.

Kruse Motorsport continue to enjoy control of the LMP2 class, with Tim Mullen running 14th overall, with Sam Hancock giving chase in the Intersport Racing Lola after taking over from Liz Halliday.

The Aston Martin challenge for the GT1 class is currently being run by Pedro Lamy in 10th overall, with a margin of 1m16s over Max Papis in the number 63 Corvette, with the sister Corvette one place and two minutes further back.

The sun is due to set at 21:45, which will come as a huge relief to the drivers. This isn't simply as it will stop blinding them on the run from Mulsanne towards Indianapolis and again through the Porsche curves, but also as it will signal the start of a drop in temperatures. Through a hot afternoon, heat has been an enemy to the drivers in close-topped cars, with the Panoz drivers having to endure 60 degree cockpit temperatures and the soles of their feet being burned.

Anthony Reid was another to suffer, particularly when his Scuderia Ecosse was running at reduced pace during the safety car period at around 19:00.

Jorg Bergmeister continues to make amends for crashing the White Lightning Racing Porsche in qualifying, by leading the GT2 class from the rival Alex Job Racing Porsche that is being pedalled by Marc Lieb.

There is only one registered retirement thus far: it's number 33 Intersport Racing Courage-AER with suspension failure.

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