Le Mans 24 Hours: #2 Audi has big lead as #7 Toyota retires

Audi held a commanding lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours during the 15th hour of the race, while Toyota officially retired the former race-leading #7 car

Le Mans 24 Hours: #2 Audi has big lead as #7 Toyota retires

After an electrical problem forced Kazuki Nakajima to stop on track during the previous hour, the #2 Audi had a trouble-free first stint in the lead of the race, comfortably ahead of the #20 Porsche.

The battle for second appeared to be the most likely source of excitement towards the front of the race, as the #1 Audi of Lucas di Grassi started to hunt down Brendon Hartley's 919 Hybrid.

While Toyota pulled down the garage shutters on its #7 garage, the #8 TS040 HYBRID continued to battle the #14 Porsche for what has become fourth place.

However, that fight appeared to come to an end at the close of the hour as Lieb went off at Indianapolis and was stuck in the gravel.

There was still no change at the front of LMP2 as the OAK-run #35 Ligier enjoyed a comfortable lead in the hands of Jann Mardenborough, with the TDS-run #45 Ligier and #36 Signatech ORECA giving chase and fighting for second.

Ferrari moved into GTE lead as Aston Martin lost time with a brake change and Corvette suffered a pair of substantial setbacks.

Darren Turner looked to have put Aston in control but, with Stefan Mucke having taken over, a pre-planned brake change handed Gianmaria Bruni's AF Corse-run 458 Italia the lead.

Despite a rapid turnaround from AMR Mucke was helpless as Bruni claimed a lead in excess of two minutes, but at least the Vantage squad is still in the lead running.

The same probably cannot be said for the #74 Corvette. Having spent much of the first half of the race in the lead and the rest there or thereabouts, the 14th hour was a nightmare for its lead C7.R.

First, it had to pit to replace the right-side door after it was deemed "insufficiently lit", and then spent several minutes in its pitbox, in the air with mechanics fettling the engine area for some time.

It got back on track at the end of the hour, but fell to sixth overall and fifth in class.

The Corvette is one place behind Nicki Thiim's Am-leading #95 Aston Martin, which has led without disruption since the third. Drama for the #61 AF Corse dropped it out of second in the class, promoting the #88 Proton Competitio Porsche.

POSITIONS AFTER 15 HOURS Pos Cl Car Drivers Laps Gap 1. LMP1 #2 Audi Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer 236 2. LMP1 #20 Porsche Bernhard/Webber/Hartley 233 + 3 Laps 3. LMP1 #1 Audi Di Grassi/Gene/Kristensen 233 + 19.251s 4. LMP1 #8 Toyota Davidson/Lapierre/Buemi 225 + 11 Laps 5. LMP1 #14 Porsche Dumas/Jani/Lieb 224 + 12 Laps 6. LMP2 #35 Ligier Brundle/Mardenborough/Shulzhitskiy 220 + 16 Laps 7. LMP2 #46 Ligier Thiriet/Badey/Gommendy 219 + 17 Laps 8. LMP2 #36 Alpine Chatin/Panciatici/Webb 219 + 22.054s 9. LMP2 #34 Oreca Frey/Mailleux/Lancaster 218 + 18 Laps 10. LMP1 #12 Rebellion Prost/Heidfeld/Beche 217 + 19 Laps 11. LMP2 #38 Zytek Dolan/Tincknell/Turvey 217 + 1m17.850s 12. LMP2 #24 Oreca Rast/Charouz/Capillaire 216 + 20 Laps 13. LMP2 #43 Morgan Klien/Hirsch/Brandela 215 + 21 Laps 14. LMP2 #33 Ligier Cheng/Tung/Fong 211 + 25 Laps 15. LMP2 #42 Zytek Kimber-Smith/McMurry/Dyson 209 + 27 Laps 16. GTEP #51 Ferrari Bruni/Vilander/Fisichella 208 + 28 Laps 17. GTEP #97 Aston Turner/Mucke/Senna 208 + 1m56.602s 18. GTEP #92 Porsche Holzer/Makowiecki/Lietz 207 + 29 Laps 19. LMP2 #29 Morgan Schell/Leutwiller/Roussel 207 + 49.303s 20. GTEP #73 Chevrolet Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor 206 + 30 Laps 21. GTEA #95 Aston Poulsen/Heinemeier-Hansson/Thiim 206 + 6.387s 22. LMP2 #50 Morgan Ragues/Taylor/Ihara 206 + 8.310s 23. GTEP #74 Chevrolet Gavin/Milner/Westbrook 205 + 31 Laps 24. LMP2 #27 Oreca Zlobin/Salo/Ladygin 204 + 32 Laps 25. GTEA #88 Porsche Ried/Bachler/Al Qubaisi 202 + 34 Laps 26. GTEA #90 Ferrari Montecalvo/Roda/Ruberti 202 + 5m53.316s 27. GTEA #57 Ferrari Krohn/Jonsson/Collins 202 + 6m54.611s 28. GTEA #61 Ferrari Perez-Companc/Cioci/Venturi 202 + 7m27.446s 29. GTEA #77 Porsche Dempsey/Foster/Long 201 + 35 Laps 30. GTEA #70 Ferrari Nakano/Ehret/Rich 200 + 36 Laps 31. GTEA #66 Ferrari Al Faisal/Neiman/Pumpelly 200 + 2m37.206s 32. GTEA #58 Ferrari Barthez/Pons/Ayari 200 + 3m21.663s 33. GTEA #76 Porsche Narac/Armindo/Hallyday 199 + 37 Laps 34. GTEA #98 Aston Dalla Lana/Lamy/Nygaard 198 + 38 Laps 35. GTEA #67 Porsche Maris/Merlin/Helary 197 + 39 Laps 36. GTEP #79 Porsche MacNeil/Curtis/Bleekemolen 194 + 42 Laps 37. GTEA #53 Ferrari Mowlem/Patterson/Hamilton 191 + 45 Laps 38. GTEA #72 Ferrari Bertolini/Shaitar/Basov 182 + 54 Laps 39. GTEP #91 Porsche Pilet/Bergmeister/Tandy 178 + 58 Laps 40. GTEA #62 Ferrari Mallegol/Bachelier/Blank 176 + 60 Laps 41. GTEA #75 Porsche Perrodo/Collard/Palttala 166 + 70 Laps 42. GTEP #52 Ferrari Griffin/Parente/Leo 139 + 97 Laps 43. LMP1 #7 Toyota Wurz/Sarrazin/Nakajima 219 Retired 44. LMP2 #26 Morgan Rusinov/Pla/Canal 120 Retired 45. GTEA #60 Ferrari Mann/Case/Giammaria 115 Retired 46. LMP2 #47 Oreca Howson/Bradley/Imperatori 87 Retired 47. LMP1 #13 Rebellion Kraihamer/Belicchi/Leimer 73 Retired 48. LMP2 #48 Oreca Berthon/Gonzalez/Chandhok 73 Retired 49. LMP2 #41 Zytek Munemman/Latif/Winslow 31 Retired 50. GTEP #71 Ferrari Rigon/Kaffer/Beretta 28 Retired 51. LMP1 #3 Audi Albuquerque/Bonanomi/Jarvis 25 Retired 52. GTEA #81 Ferrari Wyatt/Rugolo/Bird 22 Retired 53. LMP2 #37 Oreca Ladygin/Minassian/Mediani 9 Retired 54. CDNT #0 Nissan Ordonez/Reip/Motoyama 5 Retired 
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Le Mans 24 Hours: Audi takes the lead as Toyota stops in hour 14
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