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Hour 8: Lehto Takes Over

JJ Lehto has taken over the lead car from Tom Kristensen, after the Dane duelled with Audi teammate Frank Biela to maintain his one lap advantage at the front

Both Audi drivers were lapping in the low 3:42s before Kristensen pitted at 23:35 local. Only Seiji Ara in the Jim Gainer International Dome came close to their pace, lapping seconds per lap slower. The Japanese ran in fourth position due to a different pit strategy to the ORECA Audi in third.

"There were a lot of incidents, there was a car with three wheels, oil on the circuit and in the sun I was completely blind," said Kristensen after stepping out of the car. "All these things make the heart beat a bit faster. We have a great race on our hands with the other car. We are in the lead earlier than expected, if ever. We now have something very big to lose! I had yellow flags for half of the laps, so it was difficult to either gain or lose."

The Pescarolos lie in sixth and seventh positions, separated by a lap and Soheil Ayari, the leader of the two green cars, has made an extra pit stop compared to his teammate. Hiroki Kurosawa currently lies eighth overall in the Team Jota Zytek, the British team making its debut at the great race this year.

The number 59 Aston Martin again visited the penalty box, having been handed its second three-minute penalty for Darren Turner. The penalty was assessed for overtaking under a yellow flag and was taken by Stephane Sarrazin, who had taken over from his British co-driver. The Frenchman, perhaps incensed by the delay in his own progress, immediately lowered the car's fastest lap to a 3:52.2 lap, nearly three seconds faster than the ACO's recommended limit of 3:55.

Tomas Enge continues to lead the GT1 class in the lead Aston Martin, 47 seconds ahead of the Corvettes, who are all lapping conspicuously close to the ACO's limit. The Larbre Ferrari 550 Maranello of Olivier Dupard that is next up in class, is lapping in 4m11.2s!

Claude-Yves Gosselin found himself on the trolleys in the pit lane in the Gulf liveried Courage while running third in the LMP2 class, and the team has set to work undertaking repairs.

Liz Halliday continues to lead the class in the Intersport Racing Courage, lapping consistently as fast or faster than her more experienced contemporaries.

Marc Lieb and Timo Bernhard continued to lead the GT2 class in the Yokohama-shod Alex Job Racing Porsche, 18s ahead of his fellow Porsche factory driver Timo Bernhard in the White Lightning Racing entry, with Romain Dumas running third in the Raymond Narac Porsche driven by Romain Dumas.

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

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